UPDATE, 12/18, 10:05 a.m. PT: Taylor Lorenz’s Twitter account (@TaylorLorenz) has been restored. She said the temporary suspension from Twitter appeared to be because she had posted links to her accounts on other social platforms, in violation of a new rule that Elon Musk announced Sunday. Later in the day, the page on Twitter’s help site about the new “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy” was removed; Musk tweeted that the policy “will be adjusted to suspending accounts only when that account’s *primary* purpose is promotion of competitors, which essentially falls under the no-spam rule.”
PREVIOUSLY: 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, 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 banning 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.
On Sunday at 6:23 a.m. PT, Musk tweeted about Lorenz’s account on Twitter, “Temp suspension due to prior doxxing action by this account. Will be lifted shortly.”
Lorenz told Variety that she has never “doxxed” anyone (on Twitter or anywhere else) and said that Twitter has never contacted her about any supposed violation of its anti-doxxing rules. After the Washington Post published an April 2022 story she wrote about the anti-LGBTQ account Libs of TikTok, Lorenz was accused of “doxxing” the creator of anti-LGBTQ account Libs of TikTok by revealing her identity as Brooklyn real estate agent Chaya Raichik. In a Twitter post at the time, Lorenz had defended the decision to identify Raichik as the person behind Libs of TikTok by noting that she “isn’t just some average woman with a social media account” but a “powerful influencer operating a massively impactful right wing media shaping discourse around LGBTQ+ rights.”
Twitter’s ban of Lorenz, who has regularly reported on Twitter and Musk, came after the mega-billionaire suspended the Twitter accounts of several journalists Thursday. Musk alleged 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 — in this case apparently based on allegations of “doxxing” unrelated to anything currently posted by Lorenz’s Twitter account — 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. [UPDATE: On Sunday, the Washington Post published the story, headlined “Musk blamed a Twitter account for an alleged stalker. Police see no link.” Musk had tweeted about an incident in L.A. last week in which a “stalker” blocked a car carrying his 2-year-old son and jumped on the hood; he cited that incident to justify banning the @ElonJet bot account tracking his private plane and, subsequently, to ban journalists who had reported on it, alleging, “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates.” According to the Washington Post story, the incident involving Musk’s car occurred at a gas station 26 miles from Los Angeles International Airport and 23 hours after the @ElonJet account had last located the jet’s location.] 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, in a since-deleted tweet, “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.