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Global: Musk's latest move to suspend journalists' accounts on Twitter is a threat to press freedom

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In response to Twitter’s decision to suspend the accounts of more than a dozen journalists from CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other outlets, as the company owner Elon Musk accused the reporters of sharing personal information about him, Alia Al Ghussain, Amnesty International’s Campaigner for Amnesty Tech, said: 

“Purging the accounts of critical journalists poses a threat to press freedom and reflects another deeply troubling example of the direction Twitter is headed. 

“People’s right to freedom of expression and the freedom to impart information shouldn’t be predicated on whether Musk likes it or not. Musk’s latest move illustrates the dangers of unaccountable tech companies having total control over platforms we rely on for news and other vital information. 

“Recently, Twitter flippantly disbanded its safety council, threatening the wellbeing of its users. Ever since Musk’s takeover, Twitter’s entire human rights team and thousands of independent contractors working on content moderation have also been laid-off. Bans have also been lifted on numerous accounts that have previously posted abusive content.  

“All these actions are likely to lead to an increase in online abuse on the platform.”

Human rights threats

Twitter suspended the accounts of more than a dozen journalists who were critical about the platform’s owner. Musk claims that the reporters shared personal information about him.  

On 13 December, Twitter suddenly dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, emailing the group moments before it was supposed to meet with company representatives.  

Amnesty has repeatedly documented how Twitter has failed to respect women’s rights online. Violence and abuse against women have flourished on the social media platform, often with little or no accountability.

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