CTNewsJunkie columnist Terry Cowgill, who was suspended from Twitter, removed the offending tweet that the social media company says violated its terms of service and had his account restored Saturday.
Twitter said he violated the terms of service by including a link to a flight-tracking website. In order to be restored he removed the tweet.
Twitter’s terms of service, which were updated this month, say essentially even if the information you share is public information elsewhere on the Internet, it can’t be shared on Twitter.
Cowgill said he was unaware of the new terms of service, which he suspects were updated after the car Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s son was riding in was attacked by a person he described as a “crazy stalker.” Other prominent journalists’ accounts were suspended following Musk’s decision to shut down any account that posted the address of the a site that automatically tracks flights of all aircraft, including Musk’s private jet, using publicly available data. However, there’s no exact date on the new terms of service, which simply says “December 2022.”
Cowgill said he didn’t feel like he revealed the identity or location of anyone and would not wish any harm to anyone.
Since reporting the suspension on Friday, Cowgill has had his home address tweeted, which is also a violation of Twitter’s terms of service.
But the incident creates a dilemma for the former Berkshire Edge editor who strongly believes in the Freedom of Information, especially information that’s available publicly.
“It presents some problems,” Cowgill said. “That’s why I’m sort of done with it.”
Jodie Ginsberg, president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement Friday that she was alarmed by the decision.
Ginsberg added that Twitter users often cite access to news and information about current affairs – particularly on local issues like road closures, weather warnings, and health crises – as one of their prime reasons for using the platform.
“Casting doubt on journalists’ credibility not only creates a hostile environment that could put them in physical danger, it also threatens the public’s right to access important information about events that affect our everyday lives,” she said.