Twitter suspensions branded 'very worrying and slightly sinister'

Several people were suspended from the platform on Thursday, including Irish journalist Donie O'Sullivan
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.46 16 Dec 2022

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Twitter suspensions branded 'v...

Twitter suspensions branded 'very worrying and slightly sinister'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.46 16 Dec 2022

Share this article

The suspension of several journalists on Twitter has been branded as 'very worrying and slightly sinister'. 

A number of accounts were suspended or banned from the platform on Thursday.

Among those affected were Irish journalist Donie O'Sullivan, who works for CNN.


It came just hours after he covered a story around an account that had tracked Twitter owner Elon Musk's private jet, using information in the public domain.

The US network said it is to "reevaluate" its relationship with the social media platform as a result of the suspensions.

Accounts were also suspended for journalists at The Washington Post, Mashable and The New York Times.

Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly told The Pat Kenny Show Musk keeps changing his position.

"This is a very worrying and slightly sinister update," she said.

"Elon Musk has changed his opinion on [the Twitter account tracking his private jet] quite a few times.

"Just as recently as last week, he was saying that he is such a free speech advocate that he's not even going to tackle this account - despite it potentially putting himself and the safety of his family in danger.

"However earlier this week that account was suspended; then yesterday a number of prominent journalists... were also suspended.

"There's been no exact reasoning given for their suspension.

"These journalists were just told that they had been in breach of Twitter's policy".

Updated policy

She said a policy published by Twitter at some time this month "is all about private information and media policy.

"It says you may not publish or post other people's private information without their express authorisation and permission. We also prohibit threatening to expose private information or incentivising others to do so.

"This is all very convoluted - but it seems to be anyone who has Elon Musk's name in their mouth, without it being in a singing way, is now being removed from the platform".

Jess said Musk touted himself as an advocate for free speech.

"Some people were saying that he's looking to take over where news happens," she said.

"People aren't consuming news and information in the same way they were many years ago.

"There was [a] thought that maybe Musk, by taking over Twitter, could become a media tycoon.

"His big take on this... was he wanted to be about free speech.

"He said that he would buy Twitter, get rid of the bots, be an advocate for free speech and fix the company essentially".

Twitter bots

She said in reality, Musk has not actually dealt with the big issues.

"Anybody who's been on Twitter, since Elon Musk took over, will have to have noticed the number of bots," she said.

"In my Direct Messages, every single day, I'm getting spam messages from bots.

"Every tweet that I put out is being liked and retweeted by bots.

"He hasn't eradicated the bots, he hasn't tackled any of the big things that he said he was going to tackle," she added.

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Read more about

CNN Donie O'sullivan Elon Musk Information And Media Policy Jess Kelly Journalists Mashable Private Jet The New York Times The Pat Kenny Show The Washington Post Twitter Suspensions

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