Twitter on Thursday controversially suspended the accounts of a number of high-profile journalists, many of whom cover both the platform and its new owner, Elon Musk.
Though Musk has suggested the suspensions were a result of a new platform policy, under which users are forbidden from posting another user’s “live location information,” those impacted have pushed back on that claim, maintaining they weren’t in violation of the rules and that Musk is simply punishing accounts he doesn’t like.
The European Union, however, appears to be fighting back against the news, even going so far as to warn Musk of possible sanctions.
“News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying,” Vera Jourova, the European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, tweeted Friday. “EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights.”
“@elonmusk should be aware of that,” Jourova added. “There are red lines. And sanctions, soon.”
News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying. EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct. @elonmusk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon.
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) December 16, 2022
Earlier this week, Twitter permanently suspended @elonjet, an automated account that posted publicly available flight information for Musk’s private jet. At least one of the reporters impacted Thursday evening — CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan — had tweeted about the account’s continued operation on rival social media platform Mastodon shortly before his suspension.
But others, like independent reporter Aaron Rupar, told Insider he never shared anything related to @elonjet, leaving him to believe his suspension was related to “something critical I posted of Elon.”
“Freedom of the press cannot be switched on and off as you please,” Germany’s foreign ministry tweeted Friday, per CNN. “As of today these journalists are no longer able to follow us, to comment or criticize. We have a problem with that @Twitter.”