Washington Post tech columnist Taylor Lorenz said her Twitter account was suspended Saturday after she tweeted a request for comment at Elon Musk, the tech mogul who is the social network’s new owner, on a story she was working on.
Lorenz’s Twitter account (@TaylorLorenz), which she activated in 2010, had more than 340,000 followers before it was suspended. “Earlier tonight, Elon Musk suspended my Twitter account,” she wrote on her Substack. “I received zero communication from the company on why I was suspended or what terms I violated.”
“Super crazy. Elon seems to ban anyone who disagrees with him,” Lorenz said in a TikTok video she shared Saturday evening. Lorenz had been tweeting from an alternate Twitter account, @nodreamsoflabor, before that was also banned.
Musk has not publicly commented on Twitter’s suspension of Lorenz. There was no response to a request for comment Variety emailed to Twitter’s PR mailbox.
Twitter’s ban of Lorenz, who has regularly reported on Twitter and Musk, comes after the mega-billionaire suspended the Twitter accounts of several journalists Thursday — alleging they had “doxxed” him, after some (but not all) had posted links to an account that tracked his private jet — before reinstating several of them on Friday night.
The disabling of Lorenz’s account, without any evident explanation, makes it appear that Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” is now waging a campaign to keep information and commentary critical of him off the platform he bought for $44 billion.
In the Substack post, Lorenz said there were only three tweets live on her Twitter account when it was banned: two that promoted her profiles on TikTok and Instagram, and a third asking Musk for comment on a story involving Musk that she and WaPo colleague Drew Harwell (whose account was banned and then unbanned) have been working on.
Lorenz did not provide details about what the story was about. Her tweet at Musk said in part, “We’ve learned some information that we’d like to share and discuss with you.”
At least two journalists Twitter banned and then unbanned this week, Aaron Rupar and Tony Webster, denied they posted any information that could be construed as “doxxing,” which refers to sharing someone’s private information online without their permission. “This is not the free speech we were promised,” Webster tweeted Friday night. “To be clear, there was no ‘doxing’ — even if an impulsive, accountable-to-nobody oligarch said so.”
Twitter is requiring some of the journalists it suspended to delete tweets that were deemed to violate Musk’s brand-new policy prohibiting sharing real-time location information (“regardless if this information is publicly available”). Podcaster and political commentator Keith Olbermann on Saturday posted from his Twitter dog-rescue account Regarding the suspension of @keitholbermann, “I’ve been unbanned then time-banned then re-banned then banned until I delete a tweet you can’t see anyway… in the span of two hours. What a clown this @elonmusk snowflake is.”
Journalists whose Twitter accounts were suspended — and have not been reinstated — include Fox Business correspondent Susan Li (@susanlitv), who said in a segment on the network Friday she got booted from the social network after posting a link to an aircraft-tracking site to show how Musk’s private jet may be tracked using publicly available sources. Also still banned from Twitter as of Saturday was Insider’s Linette Lopez (@lopezlinette), who has reported on Musk and his companies for years. Lopez told the AP that shortly before her suspension, she had posted legal documents to Twitter that included an email address for Musk from 2018 but which Lopez said was not current.
On Friday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), currently chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized Musk’s banning of journalists. “Elon Musk calls himself a free speech absolutist, to justify turning a blind eye to hatred and bigotry on Twitter. But when journalists report unfavorable news, they are banned without warning,” Schiff wrote in a tweet. “The devotion to free speech is apparently not that absolute. But the hypocrisy is.”
Musk replied to Schiff, “Thankfully, you lose your chairmanship very soon. Your brain is too small.”
On Instagram, Lorenz posted a photo of herself Saturday alongside New York Times reporter Ryan Mac, both posing with their hands over their mouths.
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