Twitter suspends its rival Mastodon’s account after a tweet about Elon’s jet

Musk's free speech absolutism goes for a toss. The social media site is now his fiefdom.
Ameya Paleja

Twitter has suspended the account of the rival social networking site, Mastodon, from its own network without any explanation. Visitors to the account @joinmastodon, the account that helped people move to the other social network, found the following message on Thursday, CNET reported.

Twitter suspends its rival Mastodon’s account after a tweet about Elon’s jet
Mastodon account on Twitter

Musk's takeover of Twitter has seen many people leave the social media site and opt for Mastodon, a decentralized social media site, instead. Unlike Twitter, which is one website, Mastodon is made up of thousands of websites that talk to each other. New users sign up for one such website or server but are not limited to following people or posts on that server alone.

The first two weeks post Musk's buyout saw more than a million people join Mastodon taking its total user count to 1.6 million. This is surely a trickle compared to Twitter's 238 million, but recent actions from Twitter might see more people make a move.

Twitter adds "doxxing" to its privacy policy

According to The Verge, the suspension of the Mastodon account happened somewhere between Thursday 12 and 6 PM ET, and internet archives show that the account tweeted a link to @Elonjet's Mastodon account.

For those who are unaware, Twitter suspended Elonjet, an account with over 500,000 followers as well as the account of its owner Jack Sweeney on Wednesday. Although there are no official statements from Twitter on these suspensions, one can guess that these were done under Twitter's new privacy policy that includes doxxing.

According to a CNN report, doxxing refers to the practice of sharing someone's home address or personal information online. As Interesting Engineering has previously reported, the Elonjet account uses information from the ADS-B exchange, a database of active flights in the world. This information is already in the public domain.

With the recent suspension, Musk-led Twitter has gone back from his own statement on the issue.

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Accounts of prominent journalists suspended

Thursday's actions, though, were not limited to Mastodon and saw a host of journalists from prominent outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post find their accounts suspended without any explanation too.

As per Musk's tweet, the location of his car in Los Angeles, in which his daughter X was traveling, was shared and followed by a crazy stalker. Alleging that Sweeney and other organizations wanted to harm his family, Musk said that legal action was being initiated against them.

However, CNN refuted the claim that its journalist Donie O'Sullivan had shared Musk's live location. Instead, it said that O'Sullivan and reporters from other outlets had written about Twitter's treatment of Elonjet account. While expressing concerns over these suspensions, the news outlets are hopeful that the accounts will be reinstated and Twitter provide a satisfactory explanation for the suspensions.

Musk also ran a Twitter poll, asking his followers when the accounts should be reinstated, a demonstration that he has absolute authority over the platform.

Later, he set up another poll where more than a million votes were cast to decide whether the accounts should be instantly reinstated or after a week.

Interestingly, amidst all this, users reported having difficulties sharing Mastodon links on Twitter, with the platform warning users that links could be "potentially harmful."