On Thursday, Elon Musk announced his most comprehensive plan yet to reverse Twitter’s policy of permanently banning users who frequently broke its rules. He plans to begin restoring most previously banned accounts on Twitter beginning next week.
“The people have spoken,” Musk tweeted on Thursday. Musk polled his followers on Wednesday to gauge their interest in a “general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam,” and the results prompted today’s announcement.
The people have spoken.
Trump will be reinstated.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei. https://t.co/jmkhFuyfkv
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
As of Thursday at 12:45 p.m. ET, 72.4% of respondents had voted in favor of the idea, while 27.6% had voted against it. Over three million people took part in the poll on Twitter. In addition, it is unclear how many accounts will be restored or how Musk and his staff at Twitter will determine which accounts were suspended for illegal or spam content as opposed to other offenses.
Musk indicated last week that he will reinstate Trump’s account after another vote he held on the platform concluded significantly in favor of reinstating the former President, who had been banned after the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Several other controversial users whose accounts had been banned or suspended by Musk have had them reinstated, including right-wing Canadian podcaster Jordan Peterson, satirical website Babylon Bee, comedian Kathy Griffin, and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Musk promised that no major content decisions would be made until a “content moderation council” with “widely different opinions” was in place, and he did so soon after buying Twitter. Neither the existence of such a body nor their involvement in Musk’s platforming choices has been demonstrated. When Musk reinstated Trump’s account, the president-elect instead tweeted the Latin phrase “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” which translates to “the voice of the people is the voice of god.”
Before Musk took over, Twitter normally gave users up to nine warnings before permanently banning them for violating its rules against Covid-19 or civic integrity misinformation, with each warning corresponding to a longer suspension. The platform also had additional rules prohibiting terrorist activity, threats of violence against individuals or groups, targeted abuse or harassment, publishing another person’s private information, and content promoting abuse or self-harm, all of which could result in the tweet being labeled or its reach being reduced.
Musk has already expressed his disagreement with Twitter’s policy of permanent suspensions. Musk, echoing an approach that has become somewhat of a norm in the industry, tweeted last week, “New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, not freedom of reach.” “Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.”
While many advertisers have already deserted Twitter in the aftermath of the instability since Musk took charge, the decision to reinstate many previously banned accounts might further alienate the company’s sponsors. Musk claims a “huge loss in revenue” for Twitter has occurred as a result of the withdrawal of many major advertisers in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Elon Musk unveiled his most extensive plan yet to undo Twitter’s policy of permanently banning users who repeatedly violate its rules. Next week, he will start unbanning most of your Twitter accounts.
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