Billionaire businessman Elon Musk says several journalists he suspended from his social media company, Twitter, will have their accounts reinstated.
Reporters for the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post were among those locked out of their accounts, after Mr Musk accused them of sharing location data about him.
But amid mounting criticism, he asked Twitter users what to do next.
And 59% of the 3.6 million who took part voted to lift the ban immediately.
“The people have spoken. Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now,” he tweeted.
The ban was condemned by the EU and UN.
The people have spoken.
Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now. https://t.co/MFdXbEQFCe
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2022
However, one notable account, @ElonJet, remains suspended. The account’s owner Jack Sweeney, 20, used publicly available flight-tracking information to tweet every time Mr Musk’s jet took off and landed.
Musk had blamed the account for an incident involving “a crazy stalker” who he said had accosted his son while travelling in a car.
On Thursday, Mr Musk said legal action was being taken against Mr Sweeney and others.
Some of the journalists suspended on Twitter had reported on the incident involving the jet tracking account.
Following the suspensions, bodies such as the EU and the UN, as well as governments and journalists, condemned the move.
“Media freedom is not a toy,” the UN’s under secretary general Melissa Fleming said. “A free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key tool in the fight against harmful disinformation.”
EU commissioner Vera Jourova had threatened Twitter with sanctions under Europe’s new Digital Services Act which she said requires “the respect of media freedom and fundament rights”.
Since taking the helm at Twitter, Mr Musk has made a host of changes to its moderation practices.
He has restored a handful of previously banned accounts, including former President Donald Trump’s profile, which was banned following the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol.
The Tesla CEO has also slashed the social media company’s staff and has reportedly stopped paying rent for some of Twitter’s offices, including the company’s San Francisco headquarters, according to the New York Times.
Bernard Arnault Claims World’s Richest Man Title From Elon Musk – Forbes
Twitter owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk briefly lost his title as the world’s richest person to Bernard Arnault on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, according to Forbes.
Musk’s fortune dipped to $185.3 billion, falling just behind the $185.4 billion personal wealth of Arnault, the chief executive of luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH, and his family.
It was the first time since September 2021 that Musk was knocked out of first place on the Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires list, which is constantly updated based on stock prices.
After briefly falling behind Arnault on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, Musk popped back into the lead, and the two billionaires were vying for top spot as the trading day unfolded.
It follows a turbulent period for Musk, who sold off significant swathes of his Tesla holdings to fund his $44 billion Twitter takeover six weeks ago.
Musk’s personal fortune is largely tied up in Tesla stock, which has lost 57 percent of its value since the start of the year.
It means that, at least on paper, Musk’s net worth has plunged from its peak of roughly $320 billion in November 2021, when Tesla shares hit an all-time high of $414.50.
Meanwhile, luxury goods maker LVMH has weathered the bear market much more robustly.
The Paris-based company’s shares are down just 9.7 percent since the start of the year, outperforming the benchmark S&P 500.
In addition to Louis Vuitton, LVHM controls about 60 subsidiaries comprising a range of prestigious brands, including Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Bulgari, and Tiffany & Co.
Arnault, 73, is the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive of LVMH. Compared to the headline-magnet Musk, he maintains a low profile.
However, Arnault was among the business leaders who attended the first White House state dinner of President Joe Biden’s administration last week, welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron.
Musk, meanwhile, has seen his personal fortune wane in the face of harsh market sell-offs and his expensive decision to purchase Twitter at a hefty premium.
Musk paid $54.20 for the company, which had been trading around $35 before his takeover offer in April.
Although Musk tried to get out of the signed merger agreement, Twitter’s threats to take the matter to court succeeded in forcing his hand, and he paid the agreed-upon price at the closing in late October.
Musk’s tenure leading Twitter has been marked with drama, after he laid off roughly half the company’s employees and began leaking internal documents intended to portray the former management negatively.