At least nine accounts on X belonging to left-leaning journalists and activists were suspended on Tuesday without explanation. Hours later, the accounts were all reinstated.
The accounts, which belonged to individuals such as the Intercept’s Ken Klippenstein and Texas Observer reporter Steven Monacelli, were alleged to have violated an unnamed rule on X.
The Daily Dot reached out shortly after to Monacelli, who at that time was unaware of his suspension. Monacelli, stated that he had received no message or email from X detailing the reasoning behind his removal.
“I haven’t received any communications from Twitter/X about why I have been suspended,” Monacelli told the Daily Dot. “I can’t think of anything I’ve posted lately that would be worthy of suspension. Although I have written multiple critical reports about Twitter/X and Elon Musk in recent months.”
Monacelli also noted that his posts before the suspension were criticizing billionaire Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager who spearheaded the movement that led to the ousting of Claudine Gay as president of Harvard University after she was found to have committed plagiarism.
Ironically, Ackman’s wife then was hit with similar plagiarism allegations shortly after, which has led Ackman to go on a days-long tirade over media outlets reporting on his wife.
Yet Monacelli isn’t the only suspended user to have criticized Ackman in recent days. The popular left-wing commentator known as “zei_squirrel” similarly suggested that his focus on Ackman could be linked to his suspension from X.
“Elon Musk’s Twitter just banned me, without giving any reason. I didn’t get any post that was flagged, no infraction, no warning, nothing,” @zei_squirrel wrote on an alternate platform. “So I suspect it is because I have been exposing the propaganda of the genocidal Israeli regime and its supporters, including recently Bill Ackman.”
While the reasoning behind the suspensions remains unclear, all the accounts appeared to be critical of Ackman, Musk, and Israel.
While Ackman and Musk have frequently interacted on the platform, there is no proof he may have gone directly to Musk to discuss or complain about specific accounts. Ackman’s press office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the accounts.
The Daily Dot attempted to reach X over email but was met with an automated response. Musk, who has long hailed himself as a free speech absolutist, has not commented either.
People on Twitter though, were attempting to connect the dots.
Other accounts suspended and reinstated on X include @TrueAnonPod, a left-wing podcast covering right-wing conspiracy theories such as QAnon. One of the hosts, Liz Franczak, sarcastically weighed in on the suspension from their personal account.
@TrueAnonPod also recently posted about Ackman, including sharing revelations that his wife took money from Jeffrey Epstein at MIT, where she works. Ackman responded to the criticism, saying his wife had no control over who donated to MIT and how those funds were doled out.
The wave of suspensions even prompted a response from the ACLU, which called on X to address the issue.
“X must explain why it suspended numerous journalists,” the ACLU wrote. “Tech companies that hold themselves out as a modern public square have a responsibility to foster free speech, not censor it.”
This is not the first time that X has suspended journalists while under the control of Musk. In 2022, Musk suspended the accounts of multiple journalists from CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other outlets after reporting on another suspended X account that posted public location updates on Musk’s private jet. Musk at the time accused the journalists of exposing “assassination coordinates” for him and his family.
Disclosure: Steven Monacelli has previously written for the Daily Dot.