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Elon Musk reveals why Washington Post reporter was suspended from Twitter

‘Temp suspension due to prior doxxing action by this account. Will be lifted shortly,’ Twitter CEO writes

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 19 December 2022 16:48 GMT
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Elon Musk has said that Washington Post tech reporter Taylor Lorenz was suspended from Twitter because of what he called “prior doxxing action”.

Ms Lorenz became the latest journalist to face suspension over the weekend after a string of bans targeting reporters who had recently covered or criticised Mr Musk. The Tesla CEO and Twitter chief held that the suspensions were solely for reporters who covered public information regarding his private jet - calling it “doxxing”.

However, Ms Lorenz’s suspension - which has since been lifted - came after she tweeted at Mr Musk requesting comment on a story she was working on with colleague Drew Harwell, who already had had his Twitter access revoked.

“Hi Elon, @drewhartwell and I sent you a couple emails about this. We’ve learned some information that we’d like to share and discuss with you. We’re taking this very seriously and want to ensure this is pursued in the right way. Thanks,” Ms Lorenz wrote.

On Sunday, Mr Musk tweeted that Ms Lorenz had been put on “temp suspension due to prior doxxing action by this account. Will be lifted shortly”.

While Mr Musk didn’t specify the supposed “doxxing action”, Ms Lorenz has faced recent criticism from conservatives after she identified the person behind the Twitter account “Libs of TikTok,” which mocks users on that platform, Mediaite noted.

Mr Musk has previously boosted the right-wing Twitter account.

Ms Lorenz announced her return to Twitter on Sunday afternoon, posting a photo of someone in the hospital.

In a statement earlier on Sunday, Washington Post Executive Editor Sally Buzbee criticised Mr Lorenz’s Twitter suspension.

“The arbitrary suspension of another Post journalist further undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech,” she said. “Again, the suspension occurred with no warning, process or explanation -- this time as our reporter merely sought comment from Musk for a story. Post journalists should be reinstated immediately, without arbitrary conditions.“

On Saturday, Ms Lorenz wrote in a blog post on Substack that “my colleague Drew Harwell, who has also been suspended, and I have been working on a story involving Musk and were hoping to get comment from him. We attempted to reach him several times through email over the past few days. At 8:30pm EST I tried reaching out for comment on Twitter”.

“When I went to log in and see if he had responded to our query, I was suspended. I received zero communication from the company on why I was suspended or what terms I violated,” she added.

“Musk’s arbitrary suspensions of journalists who report on him should worry anyone who values journalism and free expression,” she wrote.

Twitter has suspended and reinstated several reporters who wrote about or linked to the account @elonjet, which tracks the movement of Mr Musk’s private plane. Influencer manager Ariadna Jacob has also recently complained about Ms Lorenz to Mr Musk after an article the reporter wrote about her was published, The Daily Beast noted.

Ms Jacob argued that Ms Lorenz had doxxed her in the New York Times article. In the report, Ms Lorenz linked to a publically available Zillow listing of a collaboration home for influencers.

“Such shameful behavior will not be tolerated going forward,” Mr Musk wrote on Friday.

The Independent has reached out to Twitter for comment.

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