c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a The Mastodon account on Twitter has been suspended and links to Mastodon servers are not allowed.
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The Mastodon account on Twitter has been suspended and links to Mastodon servers are not allowed.

The right to free expression of Elon Musk is unknown. The tycoon made a commitment to turn Twitter into a public space when he first joined the company. Later, he identified himself as "a free speech absolutist." The accounts of journalists who had followed him and the profile of Mastodon, the social network that shadows him, have now been blocked as a result of his later backtracking in order to ensure that the platform would minimise hate tweets.

No one can view Mastodon's account as of this Thursday. Account suspended. This message appears when we search for the user @joinmastodon. Accounts that don't follow the rules get suspended on Twitter. Other explanations are not available. Musk hasn't provided any information on his profile either, which is different from what we are used to from his hyperactive Twitter behaviour.

This Thursday, the Mastodon account—an open source social network and direct rival of Twitter—remained disabled. Many of the links that drive users to this social network also don't work. They are labelled as "potentially harmful" on Twitter. Musk's platform has not defended the choice and merely asks him to review the internal policies of the microblogging social network.

In its help centre, it states that "violence, harassment, and other similar sorts of behaviour deter people from expressing themselves and, in the end, lessen the value of public discourse globally." The problem is figuring out Mastodon's greatest sin. All signs point to the social network's verdict that it tweeted a link to the aircraft tracking account on its own site.

That appears to be the justification Musk has given for deactivating both this account and Jack Sweeney's @elonjet account, which chronicled the businessman's flying movements. As of this Wednesday, Twitter forbids providing "the real-time location of users" at the tycoon's request.

On Twitter, confusion is still rife. In a tweet from November, Musk stated that he would "not even ban the account that follows my plane, even if that poses a direct risk to personal safety" because of respect for free expression. And he ultimately decided to halt it. "Account halted. Sweeney established a profile for himself that reads, "Twitter suspends accounts that violate Twitter rules. Sweeney confirmed his closure through a tweet on his personal account, offering alternatives on other platforms in addition to Mastodon.

A screenshot posted by Sweeney reveals that the company informed him that he had violated its policies and was now only permitted to read content—not send or forward messages. Similar to Facebook, Twitter provides him the chance to object to the policy. At the time of his block, @elonjet had 500,000 followers.

On Twitter, there has been an avalanche of blocks during the past few hours. Some US media outlets have gathered that several journalists who covered Elon Musk had their accounts deactivated and their publications removed. Media outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, or Voice of America staff journalists.

Some of them, like tech reporter Ryan Mac of The New York Times, had previously written articles about the suspension of another account: the one that tracked the tycoon's private jet using publicly available flight data.

Because of his "commitment to free expression," Musk had earlier promised not to remove the account. However, on Wednesday, Twitter revised its policies and forbade posting information about "the real-time location of persons."

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