NBC News has temporarily removed journalist Ben Collins, who covers disinformation and extremism and their intersection with digital venues, from regular reporting on Twitter and Elon Musk according to a person familiar with the matter, citing remarks on social media that the NBCUniversal news organization felt were not consistent with its editorial standards.
NBC News declined to make executives available for comment, noting in a statement that it would not comment on personnel matters. The decision regarding Collins was previously reported by the online news outlet Semafor.
NBC News made the move earlier in December after cautioning Collins several times about his commentary regarding Twitter and Musk on several occasions, according to this person. Collins remains on staff and has been active on Twitter in recent days.
Meanwhile, Musk’s moves to silence a cadre of prominent journalists on Twitter has opened a widening schism between the social-media property and several mainstream media outlets.
On Thursday, he suspended accounts belonging to The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, the Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder, and the Intercept’s Micah Lee, as well as progressive journalist Aaron Rupar and former MSNBC and ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann.
Many of the journalists had written about Musk banning the @ElonJet account on Wednesday that tracked the movements of his private jet, or had been critical of Musk on Twitter. Some of the journalists had tweeted a link to the tracking account on Twitter rival Mastodon Social.
“The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising,” CNN said a statement.. “Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.