New York: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “very disturbed” by Elon Musk’s suspension of journalists from Twitter and calls it a dangerous precedent, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.
“We are very disturbed by the arbitrary suspension of accounts of journalists that we saw on Twitter,” Stephane Dujarric said during a press briefing. Dujarric said media voices should not be silenced on a platform that professes to be a space for freedom of speech. The spokesperson said this move sets a dangerous precedent at a time when journalists all over the world are facing censorship, physical threats, and even worse.
On Thursday, Elon Musk-led Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists with the site showing “account suspended” notices for them.
Answering the question if the UN will consider its decision on involvement in Twitter, the UN spokesperson said, “We are monitoring day-by-day developments. Twitter by its very dominance of the market, remains an extremely important platform for us to share factual information.”
“We have also seen a very concerning rise on the platform of hate speech, disinformation on climate and other topics. So we are just following the situation closely,” he added.
Twitter has suspended accounts of roughly half a dozen prominent journalists, who have been covering the social media site and its owner Elon Musk, citing they had violated rules against “doxxing.”
The suspended accounts include those of Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, political journalist Keith Olbermann, Aaron Rupar and Tony Webster, both independent journalists, the New York Times reported.
The social media platform displayed “account suspended” notices on the accounts of these journalists.
The development follows a policy update made by Twitter on Thursday prohibiting the sharing of “live location information, including information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd-party URL(s) of travel routes.”
A Twitter user Mike Solana, in his tweet pointed out that the suspended accounts had posted links to jet trackers on other websites. Responding to Solana, Musk said “Same doxxing rules apply to “journalists” as to everyone else.”
Further in his response to Solana’s tweet, Musk wrote, “Criticising me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”
“They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service,” Musk tweeted.