Elon Musk cited the fight for free speech as his main motivation in buying Twitter. But apparently this seems to end at the point where the controversial tech billionaire himself is under criticism. After all, various journalists have now been blocked by the short message service. They are all united by critical reporting about Musk.
The double standard of Elon Musk
Since Elon Musk moved into the chief executive office of Twitter in October, the negative headlines have not ebbed. Not only did the Tesla CEO announce extensive restructuring and cost-cutting measures that not only put many Twitter employees on notice. On top of that, the short message service is in danger of becoming significantly more unstable, as Musk wants to cut back on server infrastructure. However, the company’s internal clear-cutting is only one side of the coin. Elon Musk communicates to the outside world that he wants to give Twitter an extra dose of freedom of speech. But it has already become clear that this could just be empty words when Musk threatened advertisers with negative advertising if they no longer cooperated with Twitter. Now the flashy tech billionaire is taking it up a notch.
Criticism comes from press and politics
Since also Musk will not have escaped in recent weeks that various negative headlines about his person and impact on Twitter determined the press, consequences now followed. Thus various Twitter accounts of well-known journalists from the USA were blocked. These write for critical media such as the Washington Post or the New York Times. The deletion campaign has very little to do with the right to freedom of expression so strongly emphasized by Musk. Of course, the media response to this action has been anything but positive. In the meantime, however, politicians have also gotten involved.
So also the Auswärtiges Amt in Germany, which let announce with Twitter briefly and briefly that one has a problem with the procedure. Furthermore, the authority let the public know on the short message service that freedom of the press should not be switched on and off at will. The government also got in touch, at least indirectly, in the form of vice-government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner. He also wrote on Twitter that the blocking was unacceptable. Should Twitter continue to display this behavior, he threatened to leave the platform. To leave the politicians of the traffic light coalition out of it, he declared the tweet as a “personal note.”
The red line has apparently also been crossed at a higher level. Finally, the EU also came forward and even threatened sanctions. With this, the European Union renewed its threat of punitive fines or even a Twitter shutdown, which one had already announced at the beginning of December 2022. Referring to the Digital Media Act, EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova also wrote on Twitter that the “news about arbitrary suspension of journalists” is worrying. Further, she stressed that there were red lines and again threatened sanctions if Twitter did not mend its ways.
Elon Musk launches Twitter deletion campaign
A real justification for the various channel deletions Twitter and Musk remain meanwhile still owe us. However, the deletion of a completely different account seems to have set the ball rolling. It became known on Wednesday that Twitter had deleted the account @elonjet. This counted over half a million followers and represented a kind of liveticker for the flights of Elon Musk’s private jet. There was already a negative response to this behavior of Musk from the global press. After all, the operator of the account used publicly available data. Twitter changed its platform rules specifically for the account shortly before it was deleted.
In the new version, the sharing of a person’s location data was prohibited. Based on this, @elonjet was then deleted. The perfidious thing is that Musk still assured in early November that he would not even delete the account that follows his private jet. Of course, journalists then also reported on the circumstance. Many of them have now lost their accounts on Twitter. Consequently, there seems to be a direct link between the reporting and the deletion. If this continues, we predict that Twitter will soon disappear into oblivion. Maybe Mastodon is a good alternative for you?