AOC Says Elon Musk Deactivated Journalist Accounts While 'Elevating' Some That Have Put Her in Danger

The Twitter owner recently deactivated multiple accounts of journalists who cover him, claiming he's doing it for safety purposes

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Elon Musk
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images; David Fisher/Shutterstock

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Elon Musk's decision to ban journalists for what he claims are safety reasons comes as he is elevating right-wing accounts that have put her own safety in danger.

On Thursday night, a swath of journalists at high-profile outlets including CNN and The Washington Post saw their accounts deactivated, suddenly and without warning.

Musk, 51, claimed his decision to deactivate the accounts stemmed from the reporters compromising his safety by sharing information regarding the ElonJet Twitter, a page that was tracking Musk's personal plane using publicly available information.

Musk deactivated the ElonJet account before banning a slew of reporter profiles, including The New York Times' Ryan Mac, The Washington Post's Drew Harwell, Matt Binder of Mashable, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan, The Intercept's Micah Lee, political commentator Keith Olbermann, journalist Aaron Rupar, and freelancer Tony Webster, per multiple outlets.

In response to Musk's claim that the journalists "posted my exact real-time location" by sharing the ElonJet account, Ocasio-Cortez said she gets "feeling unsafe, but descending into abuse of power + erratically banning journalists only increases the intensity around you."

"Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism. Maybe try putting down your phone," the Democrat added.

In another tweet, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the seeming hypocrisy of deactivating accounts that share flight coordinates while elevating right-wing accounts that she said have shared photos of her home and vehicle.

"As someone who has been subject to real + dangerous plots, I do get it. I didn't have security and have experienced many scary incidents," she wrote. "In fact, many of the right-wing outlets you now elevate published photos of my home, car, etc. At a certain point you gotta disconnect."

Even some right-wing personalities agreed with Ocasio-Cortez's assessment.

Former View co-host Meghan McCain shared AOC's tweet, saying the lawmaker "is completely right here."

"Elon is playing by his own set of rules and banning his critics like the last CEO," McCain wrote.

McCain then noted that Musk has in recent months been working to cast himself as something of a free-speech advocate, releasing internal company emails to show how employees at the social network worked to temporarily suppress a New York Post story about Hunter Biden's laptop. Though the emails were billed as a "bombshell" by Musk, most of the information published was previously known.

"I look forward to the next round of dramatic 'twitter files' showing how it's only leftists who censors their critics & Elon is some kind 'free speech warrior,'" McCain added, alluding to the documents Musk released earlier this month.

Adding to the seeming hypocrisy of Musk banning journalists for safety purposes is that he himself has been accused of putting Twitter workers in danger.

The former head of Trust and Safety at Twitter Yoel Roth, who resigned from the company in November, has been facing online attacks and threats of violence following Musk's release of the internal Twitter documents.

The alleged threats against Roth reportedly increased after Musk apparently supported tweets suggesting, without merit, that the former Twitter employee was sympathetic toward pedophilia, per a CNN report. The Washington Post reports that Roth and his family were forced from their home in the wake of the online harassment.

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Since purchasing Twitter for $44 billion earlier this year, Musk has made a number of controversial and at times bizarre decisions, including rolling out the widely panned "Twitter Blue" verification system and laying off thousands of employees.

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