Twitter temporarily removed its Spaces function entirely after Elon Musk, its embattled CEO and an ostensible purveyor of free speech, fled a Space conversation Thursday night in which he was questioned about the ban on journalists who reported on an account related to his private jet.
Musk joined a discussion on a Space hosted by BuzzFeed News reporter Katie Notopoulos about the "permanent suspension" of several reporters covering Twitter's ban on @ElonJet, an account that uses publicly available data to track the movements of Musk’s private jet.
He left after a few minutes as Notopoulos asked a follow-up question, and the Space was abruptly cut off. Shortly after, the entire Spaces function was no longer accessible.
Twitter did not respond to questions about the function's disappearance.
Late on Thursday, Musk responded to a tweet asking about glitches on Spaces. "We're fixing a Legacy bug. Should be working tomorrow," he replied.
But on Friday , Leah Culver, a senior software engineer on Twitter's Spaces team, said the function had been "taken offline" and implied it was done deliberately.
"Sorry about Spaces being taken offline," Culver tweeted. "I wasn't personally involved in the decision and hopefully Spaces will be back soon."
By Friday afternoon, the Spaces function was back.
The abrupt removal of Spaces has led to even more derision toward Musk, who as Twitter CEO has enacted inconsistent policies, fired crucial content moderation employees, and brought back accounts previously suspended for hate speech.
The billionaire has so far struggled to square his free speech proselytizing with his decisions to squash criticism against him on the platform.
When he announced that he wanted to buy the company earlier this year, Musk tweeted, "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means." But his haphazard decisions since becoming CEO have both scared off advertisers that the company desperately needs and turned many users off of the platform.
Most recently, Musk falsely accused the @ElonJet account — which was banned Wednesday — of doxxing him by posting his real-time location. He said that evening that a car his child was in was followed by a "crazy stalker" who thought he was trailing Musk. (The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that no police report about the alleged incident has been filed.)
"Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info," Musk tweeted.
Then on Thursday, he lobbed the same false doxxing accusation against journalists who covered @ElonJet being banned from Twitter, and suspended them. Reporters who tweeted the LAPD statement were also suspended.
This story has been updated with Twitter restoring Twitter Spaces.