March 21, 2023

‘Will ban’: EU official warns Elon Musk over Twitter ban on journalists

3 min read

new Delhi. Reacting strongly to Elon Musk’s move to suspend journalists from Twitter, senior European politicians have threatened future sanctions on the microblogging platform and EU MPs leaving the platform. In a tweet, the commission’s deputy chairperson Vera Jourova said, “The reports of arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter are worrying. This is not right. Can ban soon.

In fact, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has suspended the accounts on the micro-blogging platform of more than half a dozen journalists from outlets including CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Along with this, in defense of his decision, Musk said, ‘Everyone is being treated equally. They are not special just because you are a journalist. He said, ‘It is inappropriate to show real-time information about someone’s location and I think not everyone on this call would want that to be done for them.’

Jourova – one of the EU’s more senior officials – cited the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Media Freedom Act, two key pillars of European tech regulation. The DSA – the EU’s content moderation rulebook that will ban arbitrary suspensions of accounts – was legislated, but companies won’t start the compliance process until the summer. Companies like Twitter will first have to report the number of users in the EU in February.

‘Freedom of the press a very valuable asset’
The German Foreign Ministry also expressed its concern via Twitter. He said, ‘Freedom of the press should not be switched on and off at will. From today onwards, journalists whose Twitter accounts have been banned… they too can no longer follow us, nor can they comment or criticize our posts. This means we have a problem with Twitter. “From our point of view, freedom of the press is an extremely valuable asset and must be defended whenever it is questioned,” said Christopher Berger, a spokesman for Germany’s foreign office.

‘Physical Safety Violation’
Elon Musk suspended the accounts of journalists like Donny O’Sullivan from CNN and Drew Harwell from The Washington Post because they covered Musk’s ‘exact real-time location’. He had earlier said that any account doxing real-time location information of any individual would be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation.

‘Doxing a form of online harassment’
According to the report, Musk claimed that the reporting related to Elanjet was doxing (publishing private and personal information, such as addresses or phone numbers) because it could provide live information about him and his family. Doxing is the act of revealing one’s personal information online. It is a form of online harassment which means publicly exposing someone’s real name, address, job or other identifying data. Musk said, ‘You are just a Twitter citizen. So no special treatment. You doc, you get suspended, end of story.’

Musk announced on Friday that Twitter accounts engaged in doxing would be temporarily suspended for seven days. He laughed after conducting a poll on the subject on his Twitter handle and said, ‘7 days suspension for doxing. Staying away from Twitter for some time is good for the soul.

Tags: Elon Musk, european union, Twitter

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