Twitter: Elon Musk plans ‘blanket amnesty’ for suspended accounts

the important thing
Twitter’s eccentric boss Elon Musk plans to bring back suspended Twitter accounts. He launched a new survey to ask twittos. The first poll launched last week by Elon Musk led him to revive Donald Trump’s account.

Elon Musk launched a new poll on restoring suspended Twitter accounts, systematizing this rough method for key content moderation decisions. “Should Twitter offer blanket amnesty to suspended accounts, as long as they don’t break the law or spam excessively? Yes/No,” he asked Wednesday.

After five hours, about two million accounts spoke, mostly in favor of “yes”. The new owner and CEO of Twitter has rehabilitated the account of former US President Donald Trump on Saturday, which was banned from the social network after the attack on Capitol Hill in Washington in January 2021, due to the danger of the calls for violence. “The people have spoken. Trump will be returned,” tweeted Elon Musk after 15 million accounts responded to his poll on the return of the multi-billionaire Republican, including 51.8% in favor of “yes”.

Twitter is “a digital public square”

The world’s richest man has repeatedly explained that he bought Twitter because he considers the platform to be the “digital public square” that is essential to the world’s democracy. He considers moderation of content too strict, but his absolutist view of freedom of expression raises fears of an influx of abuse (misinformation, hate speech) on the social network. Many brands have suspended ad spending on Twitter, which is 90% dependent on it for revenue.

Content moderation advice

The libertarian entrepreneur first tried to silence them, recalling that the rules had not (yet) changed and promised not to make any decision on reinstatement of accounts before the creation of a “content moderation council” . “A broad coalition of social and political activists has agreed not to try to kill Twitter by draining our ad revenue in this condition,” he tweeted Tuesday. But “they broke the agreement”, he added, as a justification for the return of some personalities who were expelled from the platform.

On Friday he actually let go of a comedian impersonating him, “The Babylon Bee”, an American satirical site, and Jordan Peterson, a conservative media personality. The latter two were suspended in March and August respectively for violating the hate speech policy – both mocking transgender personalities.

Elon Musk, however, seems to have a limit: he indicated that he will not allow again the American far-right conspirator Alex Jones, who has been sued for several years by the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. of Newton, Conn., for claiming the massacre was just a staged show by anti-gunners. Having experienced the death of her first child, she explained that “there is no mercy for anyone who uses the death of children to (gain) financial, political or fame”.

impulsive decisions

Elon Musk has been widely criticized for his impulsive decisions at the helm of Twitter, from sweeping layoffs to chaotic launches of new features. He ignores criticism several times a day on his account with 118 million subscribers with memes (parodic images), emoticons, provocations, personal attacks and pirouettes. “He doesn’t understand that Twitter is a brand in itself, the platform has cachet. Now companies don’t want to be associated with it,” said Sarah Roberts, professor specializing in social networks at UCLA University.

The boss of Tesla and SpaceX is also at risk of being caught by regulators. Twitter must indeed comply with European laws, including those on Digital Services (DSA), which require platforms to quickly remove illegal content and to combat misinformation, in particular. Arcom, the French media policeman, reminded the California group of its “obligations” on Monday and asked it to “confirm” by Thursday that it is “able” to deal with it and “inform it of the short-term development of human resources and technologically dedicated to it.

The eccentric entrepreneur is encouraged in his arbitrary methods by his army of fans. But even some of his admirers seem weary. “Elon Musk, I am a grateful customer of Starlink (internet provider and subsidiary of SpaceX, editor’s note). I had a Tesla. I appreciate SpaceX. Twitter is different. (…) These are your rules, the your agenda and your opinions are problematic and destroy trust,” tweeted John Phillips, an attorney and proven user of the network. “Truth over time builds trust. Nothing else,” replied the boss.

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