Michael Weekes Jr./Reuters
- News accounts were locked out of Twitter after posting video from a SpaceX rocket launch.
- Twitter flagged at least one of the videos as “intimate media of someone without their express consent.”
- Elon Musk said image recognition “needs some work” and shared a photo of a hot dog.
Twitter’s image recognition mistook video of a SpaceX rocket flight for revenge porn, locking news accounts covering the launch, and Elon Musk shared a hot dog picture in response.
SpaceX, the rocket company Musk founded, launched 114 small satellites into orbit on Tuesday. As they usually do, a handful of news sites and YouTube channels tracked the launch diligently, from preparations an hour before liftoff, to the landing of the Falcon 9 rocket booster back on Earth, to the deployment of the satellites in orbit.
One of those news sites, Spaceflight Now, was abruptly locked out of its Twitter account after posting a video of the rocket booster landing.
Twitter had flagged the tweet as “violating our rules against posting or sharing privately produced/distributed intimate media of someone without their express consent,” according to a screenshot reviewed by Insider.
The offending tweet was released and the account unlocked exactly 24 hours later, the website’s editor, Stephen Clark, told Insider.
—Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) January 3, 2023
Twitter and SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
But Musk responded to a colleague of Michael Baylor, who runs rocket-launch livestreams for the website NASASpaceflight. Baylor’s account had also been locked after sharing imagery of the rocket, Chris Bergin, the website’s managing editor, said on Twitter.
Musk tweeted back “seems like our image recognition needs some work!” He included the helpful visual of a hot dog — labeled as, yes, a hot dog — alongside a shoe in a hot dog carton, labeled as “not hot dog.”
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 4, 2023
Since Musk took ownership of Twitter in October, the company has been rocked by changing rules and layoffs. In December, Twitter suddenly suspended the accounts of several prominent journalists who had been covering Musk and his takeover of the company.
Elon Musk stands in front of a SpaceX site in Boca Chica, Texas, before its development.
Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc./Getty Images
Musk said it was because they had “doxxed” his location “in real-time” by sharing links to publicly available information about the location of his private jet. The following day, he announced the accounts would be reinstated, citing the results of a Twitter poll where he asked people to vote on whether the accounts should be restored.
This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published on January 3, 2023.