X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, purged an unknown number of prominent accounts over the last 24 hours with little to no explanation. The list includes popular accounts belonging to journalists, writers, and podcasters. Among them are Ken Klippenstein of the Intercept, writer and podcaster Rob Rousseau, Texas Observer correspondent Steven Monacelli, the account for TrueAnon, a left-wing politics and news podcast, and a number of others. One thing the accounts had in common was recent criticisms of the Israeli government.
Elon Musk spent the last few months dealing with blowback after he endorsed the blatantly racist conspiracy theory that Jews encourage “hatred against whites.” The CEO then embarked on a campaign to restore his image, celebrating the Israeli military, denouncing antisemitism, and traveling to Israel for an impromptu meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I haven’t received any communications from Twitter/X about why I have been suspended,” Monacelli told Gizmodo. “I can’t think of anything I’ve posted lately that would be worthy of suspension. Although I have written multiple critical reports about Twitter/X and Elon Musk in recent months.”
Other users also seem to be in the dark about why the company removed their accounts.“Why did Elon ban my podcast account what about free speech,” Liz Franczak, co-host of TrueAnon, wrote on her personal X account. “Why is the woke mob coming after hard working American small businesses?”
We’ve reached out to other banned users and will update this article if we hear back. X did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist” has previously said no one should be banned from X unless they break the law. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk tweeted in 2022, in the lead-up to buying the platform.
In reality, Musk has a long history of silencing his critics and censoring views he finds disagreeable. The world’s richest man hasn’t commented on the majority of the account suspensions, but he did respond to a tweet asking about @qassam2024, an account tied to Hamas’s military.
“This was a tough call,” Musk wrote on X. “While many government leaders, including in the USA, do call for killing people, we have a ‘UN exemption rule’; if a government is recognized by the UN, we will not suspend their accounts. Hamas is not recognized as a government by the UN, so was suspended.”
Other banned accounts, however, have no history of calling for killing people, but they’ve all criticized the Israeli government. Klippenstein, for example, recently posted an article on his Substack newsletter noting that Musk discussed AI during his November meeting with Netanyahu as the Israeli government used AI to bomb Gaza. Klippenstein has also posted critiques of the Israeli government and military on X.
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