After Twitter suspended an account that had provided publicly available flight data for Elon Musk’s private jet, the social media platform’s new owner and CEO suggested the site was putting him and his family at risk.
In a three-tweet thread, Musk said that any account that provides “real-time” location information for any person will be suspended because “it̵[ads1]7;s a physical security breach.” The billionaire also alleged that on Tuesday night a “crazy stalker” followed and climbed onto the hood of a car carrying Musk’s son.
Musk vowed to take legal action against the university student who ran the flight tracking account, which went by @ElonJet, and any “organizations that supported harm to my family.”
On Thursday, Los Angeles police said no police report had been filed about the incident that raised Musk’s concern.
“LAPD’s Threat Management Unit is aware of the situation and the Tweet by Elon Musk and is in contact with his representatives and security team,” the department said in a statement. – No crime reports have been filed yet.
The police statement came as Twitter and Musk faced increasing scrutiny over a wave of suspensions, including several journalists who cover Musk.
Among those whose accounts were suspended Thursday night are Ryan Mac of the New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Matt Binder of Mashable, Drew Harwell of the Washington Post, political pundit Keith Olbermann and Steve Herman of the government-funded Voice of America.
By Friday night, most of the accounts were back up after Musk held a Twitter poll asking whether they should be restored “Now” or “In 7 days.” The @ElonJet account and Olbermann’s page appeared to remain suspended.
Harwell’s last post before he was suspended was about Twitter removing the account of one of its competitors, Mastodon, for posting a link to its own version of the @ElonJet account that tracked Musk’s plane, according to a tweet from NBC News reporter Ben Collins.
O’Sullivan’s and Binder’s accounts were suspended after they shared the LAPD’s statement.
Binder said Thursday that he was suspended immediately after sharing a screenshot from O’Sullivan of the statement.
“I did not share any location data, per Twitter’s new terms. I also did not share any links to ElonJet or other location tracking accounts,” Binder said. “I have been highly critical of Musk, but I have never violated any of Twitter’s listed policies.”
Musk, a self-described free-speech absolute, promised to make sweeping changes to the social media platform once he finally took control of the company, but last month, he tweeted that his “commitment to free speech even extends to not banning the account after my flight, even if there is a direct personal security risk.”
Twitter reported on Wednesday a policy update which prohibited the sharing of “live location information, including information shared directly on Twitter or links to third-party itinerary URL(s).”
“We do not make exceptions to this policy for journalists or other accounts,” Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, told The Verge via email.
On Thursday night, Musk posted several tweets responding to the journalists’ account suspensions.
“Criticizing me all day long is fine, but doxxing my real-time location and putting my family at risk is not” a tweet read.
“They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (apparent) direct violation of Twitter’s terms of service,” said another.
Musk also briefly joined an audio chat room on Twitter Spaces where several of the banned journalists discussed the news.
“You show the link to real-time information, ban evasion,” Musk said. “You dumbass, you get suspended, end of story, that’s it.”
Banned tech reporter Harwell of the Washington Post, who was also in the chat room, responded: “This is reporting … there is reporting value in public data.”
Times staff writer Jaimie Ding contributed to this report.