“Twitter can make the rules they want. I’m not by any means telling Twitter to go fuck itself.” — Charles C. Johnson.
After reporting the address of a Dallas woman under quarantine for the Ebola virus, GotNews.com editor-in-chief Charles Johnson has been suspended from Twitter. The social media site deems it a “violation” to post the private and confidential information of others. Johnson’s punishment, according to a story published on his site Tuesday afternoon, is that he has to read “Twitter Rules” and say he understands them. Twitter will then remove the offending tweet and reinstate him.
The woman is Youngor Jallah, who was caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who has the virus. “She took care of him,” Johnson told The Mirror in a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. “She carried his Ebola-infested blanket. I reported that they’ve (authorities) have abandoned her. I reported her address on Twitter. All these lefty trolls flipped out and said I needed to be suspended.”
Among those “lefty trolls,” explains Johnson, was another Charles Johnson, who apparently hates him and aided in his suspension.
Johnson (the original) reasons that other news outlets such as the Daily Mail have reported the address of an Ebola sufferer.
“She was taking this blanket that has vomit, Ebola, and sweat. She was forced into quarantine, but they never showed up with food or anything for her,” said Johnson, explaining that he posted her address in the hopes that strangers would bring food. “I have a responsibility to my readers. … On the contrary, my publishing was not to harm her but help her by getting people to show up with food for her family.”
All in all, Johnson isn’t troubled by his suspension. He sounded in good spirits and said he’s contesting it.
“It’s kind of the best thing that could have happened to me because Twitter is not going to win this one,” he said. “I am gong to get more followers when they reinstate me.”
That said, he did want to at least say something contrite.
“I’m sorry I violated their terms of service, but I think they need to be changed,” he said. “When you’re dealing with Ebola you probably want to know that your neighbors have it.”
He continued. “I want to be clear,” he said. “Twitter can make the rules they want. I’m not by any means telling Twitter to go fuck itself. But I think that they just kind of ran ahead with the media attack Charles Johnson approach rather than think seriously about what they were doing. It’s a politically correct thing to do rather than a morally correct thing to do.”
Johnson sees a bunch of silver linings in getting suspended from Twitter. “Frankly my wife will be pleased because I spend too much time on Twitter,” he said. “…It’s probably going to get my website a lot more traffic.”
Johnson sees a “serious” journalistic problem on our hands. “How are we supposed to inform the public if Twitter is going to suspend the accounts who are covering the Ebola crisis?” he asked.
So what was the tweet that got him cut off from journalism’s oxygen? Johnson, who has no direct access to his Twitter account, recited it for me by heart. We’re leaving off the address.
“This is the address of the second home that isn’t being quarantined. [ADDRESS], Dallas Texas, no apartment number yet.”