Elon Musk’s Twitter war with Mastodon (and journalists) heats up

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When Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter finally went through back in October, people didn’t really know what to expect. Simply put, in my opinion, it’s been a gong show in one form or another. The latest in the saga comes with Twitter suspending Mastodon-specific (and journalist) accounts and adding spam warnings to links to Mastodon accounts.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Since Musk took the helm at Twitter, he’s often touted Free Speech, even going to reinstate previously banned (and potentially harmful) accounts. However, Musk has taken offence to a popular account which tracked the whereabouts of his private jet through publicly available information. At some point this week, Musk Twitter suspended the @elonjet account, as well as the account of its owner. The reasoning? A newly updated policy that prohibits Twitter users from posting the current location of people, a practice called doxxing when used nefariously.

Furthermore, it appears that a number of journalists have been suspended from the platform as well, likely for covering the @elonjet suspension story. According to Musk, these “journalists” (as he puts it) violated the newly implemented doxxing rules.

Screenshot showing list of suspended journalists, and Elon Musk's response to the suspended accounts
Screenshot showing list of suspended journalists, and Elon Musk’s response to the suspended accounts.

After the suspension, it didn’t take long for the EU to take notice and issue up a stern warning to Musk about suspending journalists.

Screenshot showing Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the EU Commission, responding to the suspension of journalists on Twitter
Screenshot showing Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the EU Commission, responding to the suspension of journalists on Twitter.

Since Musk took over at Twitter (and has been very hands-on) many users have been looking for alternatives. One of the forerunners, if not THE forerunner, is Mastodon. A decentralized network of smaller social media servers which is part of a bigger network called the Fediverse, Mastodon has seen explosive growth over the past couple of months. As of yesterday, one of the main Mastodon Twitter accounts (@joinmastodon) was suspended without warning for “violating the Twitter Rules.”

Furthermore, Twitter users are finding that they can’t add their Mastodon links in their profiles as they are getting flagged as “potential malware.” Clicking on a link to a Mastodon profile, also brings up a warning message, marking it as potential spam/malware. My own personal Twitter account is one example of this message popping up when you click on the link to my Mastodon account from my Twitter profile.

Screenshot showing Twitter warning that a link to Mastodon might be spammy or malicious
Screenshot showing Twitter warning that a link to Mastodon might be spammy or malicious.

As for why Mastodon is being targeted by Musk and Twitter is anyone’s guess, but many users are surmising it’s because Musk is starting to feel threatened by the alternate social media platform. All in all, it is Elon Musk’s platform to now do with what he pleases, however, his “Free Speech” “policy” appears to have limits, especially when it comes to Musk personally.

What do you think about how Twitter has devolved since Elon Musk took it over? Are you still active on Twitter or trying to find a new home? Let us know on social media by using the buttons below.

Last Updated on December 16, 2022.

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