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Elon Musk is offering journalists he banned from Twitter the opportunity to return under certain conditions


New Twitter owner Elon Musk offered several of the journalists he banned from the social media site earlier this week the chance to return to the platform if they deleted tweets he falsely claimed shared his “accurate real-time”[ads1]; location.

The move by Musk came after he posted an unscientific poll on his personal Twitter account that ended Friday night with 59% of participants voting to immediately restore the accounts.

On Thursday, Musk had banned CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac and The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell. Independent progressive journalist Aaron Rupar, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Insider columnist Linette Lopez were also banned.

“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote Friday night after his vote, promising to restore the accounts he had falsely accused of sharing his “accurate real-time” location.

But while the accounts were made public on Saturday, the journalists were restricted from posting until they removed the tweets Musk had claimed violated Twitter’s rules.

Previously, Twitter had required the removal of offending tweets in order for users to access their accounts, but the journalists in this case strongly dispute that their posts violated Twitter’s rules.

O’Sullivan and Harwell both told CNN on Saturday morning that they had not agreed to delete the tweets and instead opted to appeal the decision.

“It’s journalism,” Harwell wrote in his appeal, a copy of which was provided to CNN. Harwell added that his tweet did not include a “link to anyone’s private information.”

Rupar told CNN that he had ultimately decided to simply remove the tweet and move on from the episode, though he described the whole affair as “quite” [sic] absurdly obvious.”

It was not clear what Mac had chosen to do.

The accounts of Olbermann and Lopez notably remained suspended and had still not even been made publicly available as of late Saturday morning.

Musk had falsely claimed on Thursday that the journalists had violated Twitter’s new “doxxing” policy by sharing their “accurate real-time” location, equivalent to what he described as “assassination coordinates.”

The suspension of the journalists had been met with swift condemnation by news organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the United Nations, Democratic members of Congress and others.

The move marked a significant attempt by Musk, a self-described free speech absolute, to exercise his unilateral authority over the platform to censor the press.

A CNN spokesperson said earlier Thursday that the network had asked Twitter for an explanation of O’Sullivan’s suspension and that it would “reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”

Shortly before his suspension, O’Sullivan tweeted that Twitter had suspended the account of a growing competitive social media service, Mastodon, which has allowed the continued publication of @ElonJet, an account that posts the updated location of Musk’s private jet.

Other journalists suspended Thursday had also recently written about the flight tracking account, which Twitter permanently suspended the day before when it rolled out a new policy banning the sharing of live location data.

The move to ban the jet-tracking account marked a sharp reversal of Musk’s pledge to leave the account online as part of his “commitment to free speech.”

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