Twitter suspends Mastodon’s account, making a good case for Mastodon


A day after Twitter crafted a new policy to explain its decision to ban an account that tracks Elon Musk’s private jet, the fallout continues.

Twitter apparently suspended its open source competitor Mastodon from the service on Thursday afternoon. Just prior to its suspension, Mastodon (@joinmastodon) tweeted a link to the jet tracking account on its own service, according to archives.

Screenshot of Mastodon's Twitter account

Image Credits: Twitter/WaybackMachine

The now-banned Twitter account @ElonJet belongs to Florida student Jack Sweeney, who also operates a number of other flight-tracking bots that curate flight information from public data. Sweeney’s personal account was also suspended from Twitter along with many of the bots, including one that issued updates on Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

In early November, Musk struck a different tone about the account but he’s since backtracked, adjusting Twitter’s platform policies in light of his personal preferences. “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” he tweeted. That tweet is now accompanied by community notes explaining the @ElonJet saga.

Musk’s personal and political preferences have guided a number of Twitter policy decisions since the company’s hands-on new owner took over. While Musk initially declared that Twitter would allow any content that isn’t illegal, he’s since disallowed specific accounts for personal reasons.

Musk reinstated a wave of high-profile Nazis and white supremacists earlier this month but drew the line at Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, citing his personal experience of fatherhood.

On Mastodon, a federated, open source Twitter alternative, a single individual can’t set the rules for the whole platform. Mastodon’s servers — separate but open instances of the social network — are run by individuals who can set rules, but users can also decamp to a different server if they don’t agree with those choices.