VOA Journalist Among Media Suspended on Twitter

VOA chief national correspondent Steve Herman was among several journalists to be suspended from Twitter late Thursday.

Followers of the former White House bureau chief’s Twitter account were greeted with a blank screen and message saying, “Account suspended.”

Accounts for journalists from CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as some independent journalists, showed similar messages.

It was not immediately clear why those accounts were suspended. VOA’s email requesting comment from the media contact listed on Twitter’s company website was returned with a “delivery failure” message.

Many of the reporters have written articles or posted about changes made to Twitter by its new owner, Elon Musk.

In replies to tweets late Thursday, Musk said on the platform: “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

Musk added: “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” a reference to Twitter rules banning sharing of personal information, called doxxing.

Reuters reported that Twitter earlier suspended @elonjet, an account tracking Musk’s private jet in real time, a month after he said his commitment to free speech extended to not banning the account.

A spokesperson for the Times said: “Tonight’s suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate. Neither the Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action.”

CNN in a statement described the suspensions as “impulsive and unjustified” and said it had asked Twitter for an explanation. The broadcaster said it would reevaluate its relationship with the platform based on that response.

Twitter is more heavily using automation to moderate content, over manual reviews, its new head of trust and safety, Ella Iwin, told Reuters this month.

At the time of Herman’s suspension, the veteran broadcast journalist had about 112,000 followers. In the hour or so prior to his account being suspended, Herman had been posting about other journalists being removed from the site.

Some information for this article came from Reuters.

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