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Elon Musk says Twitter is ‘forgiving’ suspended accounts

Elon Musk’s Twitter account displayed on Elon Musk’s mobile can be seen in this illustration with Elon Musk in the background. In Brussels – Belgium on 19 November 2022.

Jonathan Ra | NurPhoto | Getty Images

New Twitter boss Elon Musk said Thursday he is offering an “apology” for suspended accounts that online security experts predict will lead to a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The billionaire’s announcement followed a poll he posted on his timeline asking for a vote on reinstatement for accounts that “have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The yes vote was 72%.

“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox populi, vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, using a Latin phrase meaning “voice of the people, voice of God.”

Musk used the same Latin phrase after posting a similar poll last weekend before restoring former President Donald Trump’s account, which was banned by Twitter on January 6, 2021, for encouraging capital insurrection. Had given. Trump has said he will not return to Twitter, but has not deleted his account.

Online polls like this are anything but scientific and can be easily influenced by bots.

In the month since Musk has taken over Twitter, groups monitoring the platform for racist, anti-Semitic and other toxic speech say it is growing into the world’s de facto public square. This includes a rise in racist abuse of World Cup soccer players, which Twitter allegedly failed to act on.

The uptick in damaging content comes after Musk’s decision to lay off half the company’s 7,500-person workforce, fire top executives and then set out a series of ultimatums that prompted hundreds of people to quit. Let go of an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation as well. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of trust and security, was among those who resigned because of a lack of faith in Musk’s desire to prevent Twitter from devolving into a chaos of unregulated speech.

Major advertisers have also left the platform.

On October 28, the day after he took control, Musk tweeted that no suspended accounts would be reinstated until Twitter formed a “Content Moderation Council” with diverse viewpoints that would consider the cases.

On Tuesday, he said he was reneging on that promise because he had agreed to the urging of “a large coalition of political-social activist groups” who subsequently “broke the deal” by insisting that advertisers withdraw at least temporarily. Seriously stop giving to Twitter. Business.

A day earlier, Twitter restored the personal account of far-right representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was banned in January for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policies.

Meanwhile, Musk has been increasingly irate on Twitter with right-wing figures. He urged “independent-minded” people to vote Republican ahead of this month’s US midterm elections.

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