Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats blast Musk over Twitter bans: ‘Maybe try putting down your phone’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats blasted Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Thursday night for suspending several prominent journalists from the social media platform.
“You’re a public figure. An extremely controversial and powerful one,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet. “I get feeling unsafe, but descending into abuse of power + erratically banning journalists only increases the intensity around you.”
“Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism,” she added. “Maybe try putting down your phone.”
Several technology reporters from major outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, had their accounts suspended on Thursday night after reporting on Musk’s dispute with the creator of the @elonjet account.
Jack Sweeney, who created the Twitter account that tracked the movements of the billionaire’s private jet, was suspended on Wednesday. Musk has accused the suspended journalists of “doxxing” him in their coverage of Sweeney and the @elonjet account.
“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” he said in response to tweets about the suspensions, adding, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”
Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) said on Thursday that Twitter told her team that day that they would not “retaliate against independent journalists or researchers who publish criticisms of the platform.”
“Less than 12 hours later, multiple technology reporters have been suspended. What’s the deal, @elonmusk?” Trahan asked.
Amid his bid to buy Twitter earlier this year, Musk described himself as a “free-speech absolutist” and promised to restore free speech to platform.
Since taking over the social media company in late October, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has sought to walk back the content moderation policies of the previous ownership and reinstated several banned accounts, including that of former President Trump.
However, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) questioned Musk’s commitment to free speech following the spate of suspensions.
“Banning journalists is antithetical to free speech and a tactic of the most disturbed, deranged, and destructive men in human history,” he said in a tweet on Thursday night.