Elon Musk’s X/Twitter platform began suspending the accounts of prominent left-wing journalists and bloggers late on Monday night and into Tuesday.
Civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo began documenting the “massive purge” Tuesday morning and listed some of the major accounts that were suspended. Ken Klippenstein of the Intercept, Steven Zetti (who writes under Steven Monacelli) of the Texas Observer, blogger Rob Rousseau, the account for TrueAnonPod podcast, and blogger Zei Squirrel were among those suspended.
Caraballo noted that most of those suspended are “shit posting accounts that were critical of Elon and Bill Ackman,” suggesting that Musk was silencing critics. Mediaite reached out to X for comment and received an automated reply that read, “Busy now, please check back later.”
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Zetti said he did not receive any explanation from X about the suspension. He added he has “written multiple critical reports about Twitter/X and Elon Musk in recent months.”
The Texas Observer put out a statement on the suspension of its correspondent, writing on Threads, “ In Twitter/X news, our Special Investigative Correspondent @stevanzetti has been suspended with no warning or explanation, along with numerous other journalism accounts such as Ken Klippenstein, Rob Rousseau and others.”
The Observer also posted to X, writing, “Dear @elonmusk @Support, we’d like to know why our reporter, Steven Monacelli @stevanzetti was suspended from this platform.” The Observer, a sharp critic of Musk and X, also listed its other social media accounts and urged its readers to “follow us off of this hellsite.”
Observers were quick to note that many of the suspended accounts were not only critical of Musk, but also of U.S. foreign policy and Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
Hard-left, anti-interventionist commentator Glenn Greenwald reacted to the suspensions, writing, “The account @Zei_squirrel was highly popular and polarizing. Its focus was on harshly criticizing US/EU foreign policy. That account survived the prior Twitter regime.Their recent focus has been on criticizing Israel and Ackman. Just got banned with no explanation, @ElonMusk.”
Zei Squirrel reacted to the suspension on their Substack in a strongly worded and expletive-riddled statement:
I was just now in the middle of writing a thread about Bill Ackman’s depravity and lies, and I suddenly got a notice that I can no longer post because I am suspended. So I went to my email to check if there was any reason provided there, if any of my posts had been reported, and there’s nothing. I didn’t even have the opportunity to delete a post that supposedly infringes on Twitter’s rules. No, that cunt scumbag Elon Musk, likely at the behest of his buddy Bill Ackman who I have been embarrassing over the past few days, just banned me. No reason given. Not even an attempt to justify it. No, just suspended me because his billionaire buddy didn’t like my posts about him.
Musk bought Twitter in October of 2022 for $44 billion and vowed to make the platform a haven for free speech, declaring himself a “free speech absolutist.” In December of that year, Musk purged several high-profile journalists from the platform including, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, New York Times’s Ryan Mac, and The Intercept’s Micah Lee. After a fierce backlash Musk reinstated the accounts, which he claimed were boosting users trying to doxx him.
Here are some reactions to Musk’s latest apparent purge:
— Adam Kinzinger (Slava Ukraini) 🇺🇸🇺🇦🇮🇱 (@AdamKinzinger) January 9, 2024
UPDATE: Musk later addressed critics and wrote in reply to calls to reinstate accounts that he would investigate the suspensions. He later added, “We do sweeps for spam/scam accounts and sometimes real accounts get caught up in them.” Many of the suspended accounts were reinstated on Tuesday.
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