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‘You get the impression that Elon Musk is acting based on personal motivations’

It increasingly seems that Elon Musk has taken it upon himself to decide what can and cannot be said on Twitter. He bought the platform with the message that there would be room to say whatever you desired, but he himself is casting doubts on that principle.

Michael Klos

This week, several American journalists were removed from Twitter for unclear reasons. They seem to have been suspended because they reported on the removal of the Twitter account that followed the whereabouts of Musk’s private plane (@ElonJet).

'A remarkable step,' said Assistant Professor Michael Klos on Dutch news website NOS.nl. ‘What is so special about this situation is that Musk had previously said that @ElonJet would continue to exist as a signal of how much would be allowed. Suddenly, Musk has reversed that policy. You get the strong impression that Musk’s choices are motivated by personal considerations.’

Michael Klos also appeared on the NOS News broadcast of Friday 16 December 2022 to talk about Musk and Twitter. You can watch the episode (in Dutch) here (starting at 10.57).

Twitter has not only suspended journalists, but has also taken action against Mastodon. This alternative for Twitter has been gaining a lot of popularity since Musk became owner. Anyone who wants to share a link to Mastodon on Twitter receives a notification that that is not possible because the link has been flagged as ‘potentially dangerous’. The official Mastodon Twitter account (@joinmastodon) has also been blocked.

‘The categorically blocking of Mastodon raises a lot of questions. That really amounts to the undercutting of a competitor by Twitter’, says Klos.

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