Several Large Accounts That Criticized Israel and Musk Banned from X

by | Jan 9, 2024

Several Large Accounts That Criticized Israel and Musk Banned from X

by | Jan 9, 2024


[UPDATE: The suspensions were lifted soon after Elon Musk said X would investigate the matter.]

A group of journalists and political commentators with large followings were banned on X without notice. The owners of the banned profiles pointed to criticisms of Israel and Elon Musk. 

On Tuesday morning, the accounts of Alan MacLeod, Ken Klippenstein, Rob Rousseau, the True Anon Podcast, Steven Monacelli, and an anonymous account @Zei_Squrill, were all banned on the platform owned by Musk. 

MacLeod, who had over 200,000 followers on X, posted on Telegram that the suspension came without warning. “Today, without warning or explanation, Twitter suspended my account, @AlanRMacLeod. They told me to check my email for a reason, but no email has been forthcoming,” the journalist wrote. “I have never even remotely been involved in any controversy/been reported/been stuck in Twitter jail before, so I assume the real reason is political, especially as high-profile leftist accounts like Rob Rousseau and Zei_Squirrel were also targeted today.”

In a statement provided to The Libertarian Institute, MacLeod said, “I’m deeply concerned about Twitter banning a host of influential anti-war accounts today, including my own. It is a sign that Elon Musk’s supposed passion for free speech might not be all that it seems.”

Musk acquired Twitter in October of 2022 and later renamed the platform X. At the time, he said he aimed to make Twitter a “platform for free speech around the globe.” 

In one of his first acts as owner of Twitter, he allowed Matt Taibbi and other journalists to access the business communications of the company’s leadership. In the Twitter Files, Taibbi exposed a coordinated effort between the government and Twitter to censor speech that countered the establishment narrative on the election, Covid and the war in Ukraine. 

However, as America has entered an election year, Musk-owned X is stepping up its censorship efforts. 

Last month, Klippenstein wrote an article on his Substack explaining that Musk had discussed artificial intelligence with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he traveled to Israel. He highlights the discrepancy between Musk’s public warning about the threats posed by AI while supporting Israel as it uses AI as the backbone of its targeting selection process for its war in Gaza. 

The account @Zei_Squirrel, which had 200,000 followers, explained in a Substack post that it was suspended over criticisms of Israel and Bill Ackman but was also not provided with an explanation from X. “If they don’t unban me, it will prove beyond all doubt that Twitter and Elon Musk are just explicitly doing the bidding of the genocidal Israeli regime and its deranged supporters like Bill Ackman.” The post continues, “There is no possibility that anything I have posted rises to the level of being ban-worthy, but nothing that Zionists posts constantly, explicit calls for genocide and mass killing of Palestinians, isn’t.”

The author then points to the posts that call for violence against Muslims and Palestinians, while the accounts are not banned for their calls to violence. 

The True Anon Podcast account, which had nearly 150,000 followers, was also taken down. Co-host of the show Liz Franczak posted on her personal account, “Why did Elon ban my podcast account what about free speech why is the woke mob coming after hard working American small businesses.” 

She added in a second post, “Podcasts are the backbone of the Twitter economy podcasts create two out of every three new tweets podcasts drive innovation support small business hard working podcasts.” She tagged the accounts of Musk, Ackman, and Israel in the post. 

Monacelli is a special investigative correspondent with the Texas Observer. In a post on Threads, he wrote, “I have to actually start using Threads because Elon Musk was awake at 3am thinking about me,” referring to his early morning ban. He included an image in his post that pointed to recent reporting on the right-wing movement in Texas upsetting the owner of X. 

X has not issued a statement on why the accounts were banned. MacLeod and Zei_Squrril believe the best way to get the accounts restored is for users to tag Musk and demand reactivation. “Probably the only chance I have to get the account back is if enough people object to this/kick up a stink. This should probably include messaging/tagging Twitter support and telling them to unban us all,” MacLeod wrote.

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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