Since acquiring Twitter in late October, Elon Musk has suspended dozens of accounts on the social media site, citing new content rules but in some cases seemingly out of personal spite.
Musk, a self-proclaimed free-speech absolutist, purchased Twitter with the ostensible purpose of freeing it from the content moderation policies imposed by its previous managers. In practice, however, Musk has made aggressive use of his power to ban users.
In November, Musk suspended several accounts for impersonating him, including those run by comedian Kathy Griffins and former NFL player Chris Kluwe. He also restricted a few accounts for spreading hate speech and politically polarizing content, including one owned by rapper Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).
Musk’s latest suspension spree started on Dec. 14 when he deactivated @elonjet, an account tracking his private jet in real time using public data. The account was run by Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old Florida college student. Twitter also banned Sweeney’s personal account and his other two accounts tracking the private jets of Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg.
Musk said Sweeney violated Twitter’s new rules that prohibit the publishing of personal information, called “doxxing.” The next day, he suspended the accounts of several journalists who recently wrote about him and his companies, suggesting they also violated Twitter’s doxxing rules. Those affected include reporters for the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and other news organizations.
On Dec. 18, Twitter announced a new policy banning accounts created with the sole purpose of promoting other social media accounts. That new rule resulted in the suspension of Mastodon, a platform billed as a Twitter alternative, over the weekend. The account was restored shortly after, though.
Below is a list of individual and groups whose Twitter account has been suspended since Musk’s takeover on Oct. 27:
- Kathy Griffin, comedian (suspended on Nov. 6 and reinstated on Nov. 18)
- h3h3Productions (@h3h3productions), a comedy YouTube channel
- Jeph Jacques (@jephjacques), cartoonist
- Chris Kluwe (@chriswarcraft), former football player
- Edith Frost (@edithfrost), singer-songwriter
- Rich Sommer (@richsommer), actor
- @EliLillyandCo, an account impersonating Eli Lilly and Company
- Ye (formerly Kanye West) (@kanyewest), rapper
- Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club (@EFJBGC), an anti-fascist gun group advocating for LGBT gun ownership
- Chad Loder (@chadloder), anti-fascist activist
- CrimethInc (@crimethinc), an anarchist collective
Private jet trackers
- Jack Sweeney (@JxckSweeney), the owner of the private jet-tracking accounts below.
- Ryan Mac (@rmac18), reporter for the New York Times
- Donie O’Sullivan (@donie), reporter for CNN
- Drew Harwell (@drewharwell), reporter for the Washington Post
- Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz), reporter for the Washington Post
- Matt Binder (@mattbinder), reporter for Mashable
- Micah Lee (@micahflee), reporter for The Intercept
- Steve Herman (@W7VOA), chief national correspondent for Voice of America
- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar), freelance journalist
- Keith Olbermann (@keitholbermann), political commentator
- Linette Lopez (@lopezlinette), reporter for Business Insider
- Susan Li (@SusanLiTV), reporter for Fox Business
- Tony Webster (@webster), freelance journalist
(Musk reinstated most of these accounts on Dec. 17 following a Twitter poll.)
Social media promotors
- Mastodon (@joinmastodon), an account promoting Mastodon (reinstated on Dec. 17)
- Paul Graham (@PaulG), a venture capitalist promoting Mastodon