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Reinstated journalists on Twitter must delete tweets, and still don’t have access to Twitter Spaces


After having their accounts reinstated on Saturday (Dec. 17), the tech journalists caught up in the “Thursday Night Massacre,” found that their restored Twitter privileges were incomplete. Many were being required to delete tweets — initially with the notable exception of Mashable’s Matt Binder — and appeared to lack access to Twitter Spaces.

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At least eight of the accounts, including Binder’s, were initially reinstated after a Twitter poll tweeted by Musk overwhelmingly supported unbanning. However, many of the journalists — including Binder, Donie O’Sullivan, and Drew Harwell — were being required to delete tweets. As of Monday (Dec. 19), some are still refusing to do so, meaning they cannot fully unlock their accounts and tweet again. Binder is currently appealing Twitter’s decision. The requirement that offending tweets be deleted is not new, but the loss of access to Spaces appears to be a new type of lingering effect brought about by a suspension.The bizarre chain of events surrounding the discovery of the Spaces glitch appears to have been the cause of the feature being temporarily shut down in the first place.

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On Dec. 15, Musk, without warning, banned several high-profile journalists for ostensibly violating Twitter’s doxxing policy. On Dec. 16, Buzzfeed News reporter Katie Notopoulos went live on Twitter Spaces to discuss the bans and was joined by Drew Harwell of the Washington Post and Binder, two of the suspended reporters. Despite neither being able to post new tweets or have their old tweets visible, both were able to access Spaces due to an apparent glitch. After the discussion picked up thousands of listeners, Musk joined in, stating that anyone who doxxes will be suspended. After journalists in Spaces countered Musk, stating that they had not posted any real-time flight data, as he alleged, the billionaire quit the call. According to Notopoulos in a tweet, soon after Musk had fled the call, Twitter Spaces was taken down from the entire platform to fix what Musk claimed was a “legacy bug.”Spaces is now back up. It appears the bug that was fixed was intended to make sure the suspended accounts weren’t able to access Spaces. But according to Binder on Twitter, despite having his account unsuspended he couldn’t access the feature.

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Binder’s Twitter account has since been suspended again, with his return conditional on him deleting a tweet the company found objectionable. This second ban came after Binder reached out to Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety Ella Irwin to inquire as to why he had been suspended in the first place, as he had not been told.”She locked my account and sent a DM I could only see via email because, again, she locked my account,” said Binder. “She said she doesn’t know why I got reinstated without being informed of what tweet I had to delete.”Binder shared a screenshot of the tweet he’s been told to delete on his Mastodon account.”remember Elon Musk’s first Twitter Files?” read Binder’s offending Dec. 14 tweet. “the one about Twitter blocking links to NY Post’s Hunter Biden story Elon Musk is using the same thing to block links to @ElonJet on other platforms right now the exact same thing (except old Twitter stopped doing it the very same day).”
It then included a link to another of his tweets, which is currently blocked from view for allegedly violating Twitter’s Rules.Binder has objected to the deletion request citing Twitter’s private information and media policy, and in particular that media is not in violation if “the media and the accompanying tweet text add value to the public discourse or are shared in public interest.”Binder’s Twitter account is currently visible to other users, but he is unable to use it.
UPDATE: Dec. 19, 2022, 3:50 p.m. AEDT This article has been updated to include further developments regarding Matt Binder’s Twitter account.


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