An independent journalist who earlier this week tweeted out Part 5 of the so-called “Twitter Files,” apparently provided by Elon Musk, scolded the platform’s new owner for cracking down on critical reporters.
Journalist Bari Weiss attacked Musk in tweets Friday for recklessly managing a powerful social media platform by “whims” after the CEO suspended the accounts of several prominent reporters who cover him, Twitter and his other businesses.
“The old regime at Twitter governed by its own whims and biases and it sure looks like the new regime has the same problem,” Weiss wrote on Twitter.
“I oppose it in both cases. And I think journalists who were reporting on a story of public importance should be reinstated,” she added.
Weiss was one of a group of journalists who each tweeted portions of what Musk calls the Twitter Files, which revealed internal discussions at Twitter about how to handle tweets regarding reports about the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Musk said he was appalled at the control the company exerted over users’ communication before he took over — and then suspended the accounts of journalists whose coverage of him he didn’t like. A Twitter executive said accounts are being suspended for violating Twitter’s “privacy policies.”
Weiss also tweeted that she has doubts that any “unelected individual or clique should have this kind of power over the public conversation,” referring to Musk.
Musk is incensed that his private jet flights have been tracked regularly on Twitter by user Jack Sweeney, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida. Musk earlier this week booted both the @ElonJet tracking account and Sweeney’s personal account — and then threatened to sue Sweeney.
After suspending several journalists from CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times, the Telsa CEO warned Thursday that anyone who “doxxes” on Twitter — reveals another’s private or identifying information — will be suspended.
Musk considers his flight details — which are already publicly available to anyone — “real-time” doxxing, he has tweeted. Yet countless people’s “real-time” locations are constantly revealed on Twitter, from videos of protesters at demonstrations to celebrity appearances to politicians’ presence at rallies.
In any case, not all the suspended journalists reported about or linked to the flight tracking information that Musk objects to. They apparently irritated Musk in other ways, such as possibly reporting on the crash records of Teslas on Auto-Pilot or, as Weiss noted, because of one of his other “whims.”
Musk responded to Weiss’ attacks, though Weiss hadn’t answered as of Friday night. He accused her of “virtue signaling to show that you are ‘good’ in the eyes of the media elite to keep one foot in both worlds.” The second world is apparently his.
Musk also asked Weiss what the consequence should be of “doxxing someone’s real-time, exact location.” He added: “Assume your child is at that location, as mine was. Bari, this is a real question, not rhetorical. What is your opinion?”
She didn’t answer.