Elon Musk’s X suspends users who post alleged name of alt-right comic creator
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Elon Musk’s X suspends users who post alleged name of alt-right comic creator


When Elon Musk acquired X, then-known as Twitter, he proudly proclaimed that his social media platform would be a place where freedom of speech reigned. 

According to Musk, only content deemed illegal by government law would be removed. All other speech – including hate speech – would be fair game to publish on X.

With that being said, why are users now reporting that X is removing posts and suspending accounts who simply post the name “Hans Kristian Graebener?”

A far-right webcomic creator unmasked

Last week, Anonymous Comrades Collective, an online group that describe themselves as an “antifascist journalism collective dedicated to exposing Nazis, racists and fascists” published a new report alleging to have uncovered the person behind StoneToss, a webcomic popular among the far right.

According to Anonymous Comrades Collective, the group was able to tie numerous old online accounts, audio livestreams, and GamerGate-era photographs to StoneToss and his alleged real-life identity as a Texas-based IT consultant named Hans Kristian Graebener.

StoneToss was started in 2017 by an anonymous individual, allegedly Graebener, who clearly had far-right sympathies. However, as more comics have been published over the years, the ideologies espoused by StoneToss have included antisemitism, racism, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. One particularly infamous StoneToss comic, for example, engages in Holocaust denial.

The Anonymous Comrades Collective’s report and a thread detailing it’s finding on its X account @anoncommiestan quickly went spread among political activists familiar with StoneToss and its far-right comics.

Anonymous Comrades Collective’s tweet thread garnered tens of thousands of retweets and likes before its X account @anoncommiestan and their posts were suspended around a day and half after its StoneToss post was published.

Musk takes action at StoneToss’ request

Anonymous Comrades Collective’s investigation tied StoneToss and an older, even more overtly pro-Nazi webcomic called RedPanels, to a person named Hans Kristian Graebener. (Mashable has not independently confirmed the identity of StoneToss.)

A few days after the report, however, the official StoneToss account on X publicly pleaded for help from X-owner Elon Musk himself regarding users posting about his alleged identity. While not confirming the accuracy of the report, it had certainly provoked a reaction, both from the StoneToss account, and from X.

“One of you has a direct line to @elonmusk – and you need to use it,” StoneToss posted to their nearly half a million followers. “If Elon’s idea of a ‘free speech’ website is one where people can be intimidated into silence, the outcome will be a site where the Stasi will drive out all dissent.” 

“If he needs a shortlist of the worst offenders, that can be easily provided,” StoneToss said.

The StoneToss account did not deny ties to “Hans Kristian Graebener” or dispute any of the claims.

At that point, the only account that had been suspended on X was the Anonymous Comrades Collective’s @anoncommiestan account, likely due to being mass reported to X by StoneToss’ followers.

But suddenly, after the StoneToss account asked for help, any prominent account posting the name “Hans Kristian Graebener” was suspended and their posts removed.

Alejandra Caraballo of Harvard Law Cyberlaw Clinic, for example, had her X account suspended for 12 hours after posting the name “Hans Kristian Graebener.” After she was unsuspended, she shared screenshots of other suspended users’ posts and was suspended again.

Caraballo provided screenshots of the suspensions to Mashable. According to Caraballo, the most recent violation, which resulted in a 7-day suspension from X, was dolled out after she changed her X account’s profile name to “Hans Kristian Graebener is StoneToss” in reaction to users being suspended for including the name in their posts. She is able to access the X feed and DM her followers. However, she is unable to post to her account.

Others, such as extremism research Jared Holt, Texas Observer reporter Steven Monacelli, and Hannah Gais of the Southern Poverty Law Center, have been temporarily suspended and their posts removed for mentioning “Hans Kristian Graebener.” Their accounts were reactivated after deleting the tweets with the name.

Political YouTuber and Twitch streamer Lance of The Serfs has been actively following the mass suspension of individuals on X posting about StoneToss’ unmasking.

“It sets a terrifying precedent if Elon Musk is going to actively interact and like posts by Chaya Raichek or Andy Ngo doxxing or deadnaming LGBTQ+ activists while attempting to protect a neo nazi cartoonist on his platform,” Lance said in a statement to Mashable. “It tells you everything you need to know about the man if StoneToss’ real name is more censored than the N-word on the platform.”

Posting “Hans Kristian Graebener” is not officially against X policy

Elon Musk’s X is used by figures on the right such as @libsoftiktok, also known as Chaya Raichek, someone who has made a career out of publicly shaming both public and private individuals. Raichek has used X to publicize identifying information that had been intentionally withheld by her target, without facing similar consequences.

StoneToss’ supporters have argued that posting “Hans Kristian Graebener” is considered doxxing – the act of publishing sensitive private information about an individual on the internet without their consent. 

However, according to X’s own official written policies on doxxing, posting “Hans Kristian Graebener” does not break the platform’s rules. In fact, on X’s official policy page titled “X’s private information policy and doxxing” the company explicitly says posting an individual’s name is not against the rules.

X policy page

A screenshot showing the relevant section of X’s doxxing policy, explicitly stating sharing an individual’s name is not a violation.
Credit: Mashable screenshot / X.com

According to X, its doxxing policies were last updated in December 2022. A heading on the relevant page reads, “What is not a violation of this policy?” It then lists several actions, followed by, “sharing information that we don’t consider to be private, including:” The first bulleted item on that list is “name.”

In addition, news sites including BoingBoing and Wired have now publicized Graebener’s name. X’s policies on this topic say that posting information that some may argue counts as doxxing are not against the platform’s policies if the info is “publicly available or is being covered by mainstream media.”

Musk apparently changes rules to benefit far-right users

So what’s the issue? Why the double-standard?

The answer to that question can be found with X-owner, Elon Musk.

Last month, some X users attempted to reveal the individual behind a far-right account that Musk frequently interacts with called @KanekoaTheGreat.

“Any doxxing, which includes revealing real names, will result in account suspension,” Musk said in a reply to @KanekoaTheGreat post about the attempts to uncover their identity.

Again, X’s written policy does not reflect Musk’s rule. In fact, Musk has interacted with posts from his favorite right-wing accounts that would violate Musk’s personal definition of doxxing. Yet, as Lance of The Serfs pointed out, those users were not suspended.

Musk not only changes X policy on a whim, but also selectively enforces these very policies as well.

In another similar example of this, Musk himself recently took action to change a newly written policy on X that claimed it would demote content that misgendered or dead-named (i.e. using a transgender persons former name) users on the platform.

Following complaints from his right-wing followers, Musk had the policy rewritten to specifically say this would only be the case in localities where the law required it.

If using a name that a trans person does not publicize and doesn’t want used isn’t against X policy, it certainly doesn’t make sense that posting “Hans Kristian Graebener” is against X policy. And if the latter does fall under Musk’s definition of doxxing, why doesn’t the former?

Nearly one week after Alejandra Caraballo was suspended for posting “Hans Kristian Graebener,” her account’s public status was shifted from “locked,” meaning you can still see a user’s profile page and interact with it, to “suspended,” which completely removes an account from public view.

Musk’s right-wing followers noticed this change and inquired if Caraballo was permanently suspended.

“Yeah, the team just informed me that there were several doxxing violations by this account, despite repeated warnings,” Musk said. “The suspension is just for a few days, but the suspension time will increase with each repeated violation.”

Shortly after Musk’s comment, Caraballo’s profile was visible on X again.

Caraballo confirmed to Mashable that her account was activated again, switched back to its original locked status. However, she informed us that her suspension was just extended to another 7-days.

Musk’s claim that Caraballo will only be suspended for “a few days” doesn’t line up with what X’s original suspension emails told her. It’s unclear exactly when she’ll be unsuspended.

“It’s clear that Musk’s X works to protect neo-nazis by inventing new rules that are not in the terms of service and arbitrarily suspending accounts who even mention the name behind the StoneToss account,” Caraballo said in a statement provided to Mashable, referring to the comic creator’s alleged identity. “The suspension is just another example of how Twitter protects extremists while applying arbitrary rules to accounts who call them out,” she added.





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