Elon Musk granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts


New owner of Twitter Elon Musk said Thursday it was granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts say will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The billionaire’s announcement came after he asked in a poll posted to his timeline to vote on restoring accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” Yes was 72%.

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

Musk used the same Latin phrase after posting a similar poll last weekend before reinstating the former president’s account Donald Trumpwhich Twitter had banned for encouraging the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump said he won’t be returning to Twitter but hasn’t deleted his account.

Such online surveys are far from scientific and can be easily influenced by bots.

In the month since Musk took over Twitter, groups monitoring the platform for racist, anti-Semitic and other toxic speech say it’s on the rise in the world’s de facto public square. This has included a wave of racist abuse of World Cup soccer players that Twitter would not act on.

RELATED: Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account after voting online

The rise in harmful content is largely due to the turmoil following Musk’s decision to fire half of the company’s 7,500-strong workforce, fire top executives, and then institute a series of ultimatums that prompted hundreds more to resign. They also let go of an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation. Among those who resigned over a lack of faith in Musk’s willingness to stop Twitter from devolving into a mess of unchecked talk was Twitter’s head of trust and security, Yoel Roth.

Major advertisers have also left the platform.

On Oct. 28, the day after taking control, Musk tweeted that no suspended accounts would be reinstated until Twitter formed a “content moderation council” with different viewpoints that would consider cases.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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