Elon Musk plans ‘blanket amnesty’ for suspended Twitter accounts

Elon Musk has started a new inquiry into restoring suspended Twitter accounts by codifying this crude method for key content moderation decisions.

• Also read: Culture ‘clash’ between Twitter and Musk

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• Also read: Donald Trump’s Twitter account has been restored after an inquiry

“Should Twitter offer blanket amnesty to suspended accounts as long as they don’t violate the law or send excessive spam? Yes/No,” he asked Wednesday.

Five hours later, nearly two million accounts had already spoken in favor of “yes”.

The new owner and CEO of Twitter already restored on Saturday the account of former US President Donald Trump, which was banned on the social network after the attack on the Capitol Hill in Washington in January 2021, due to the risk of incitement to violence.

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Elon Musk tweeted after 15 million polled the Republican multibillionaire’s return, including 51.8% in favor.

The world’s richest man has repeatedly explained that he bought Twitter because he considers the platform a “digital public square” that is important for democracy around the world.

He considers moderation of content too restrictive, but his absolutist view of freedom of expression raises fears of increased abuse (misinformation, hate speech) on the social network.

Many brands have already stopped spending on advertising on Twitter, which accounts for 90% of their revenue.

The libertarian entrepreneur initially tried to calm them down by reminding them that the rules hadn’t changed (yet) and vowed that he would not make any decisions about restoring accounts until a “content moderation board” was formed.

“A broad coalition of public and political activists has agreed not to try to kill Twitter by losing our ad revenue on this condition,” he tweeted Tuesday.

But he added that “they broke the deal” to justify the return of several personalities who had been kicked off the platform.

On Friday, he actually brought back his impersonator comedian, American satirical website The Babylon Bee, and conservative media personality Jordan Peterson.

The last two were suspended in March and August, respectively, for hate speech violations — both mocking transgender identities.

Elon Musk has a limit, it seems: he has announced that he will no longer allow far-right American assassin Alex Jones, who has been sued for several years by the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. ., for claiming that the massacre was just a show staged by anti-gun people.

After experiencing the death of her first child, she explained that she “has no mercy for anyone who uses the death of children for financial, political or fame gains.”

Elon Musk has been widely criticized for his impulsive decisions at the helm of Twitter, from massive layoffs to chaotic launches of new features.

Several times a day, he rejects criticism with memes (parody pictures), expressions, provocations, personal attacks and pirouettes on his account, which has 118 million subscribers.

“He didn’t understand that Twitter is a brand in itself, that the platform has cachet. Now companies don’t want to be associated with it anymore,” says Sara Roberts, a professor specializing in social networks at UCLA University.

The boss of Tesla and SpaceX is also at risk of being passed over by regulators.

Twitter must indeed comply with European laws, including the Digital Services Act (DSA), which requires platforms to quickly remove illegal content and specifically combat disinformation.

French media police Arcom reminded the Californian group on Monday of its “obligations” and asked it to “confirm” on Thursday that it would be “capable” and “inform it of short-term developments”. human and technological resources are spent on it.

The whimsical entrepreneur inspires his army of fans in his arbitrary ways.

But even some fans seem jaded.

“Elon Musk, I am a grateful customer of Starlink (internet provider and subsidiary of SpaceX, editor’s note). I had a Tesla. I like SpaceX. Twitter is different. (…) It’s your policies, agenda and opinions that are the problem and destroy trust,” tweeted John Phillips, an authenticated user of the network and a lawyer.

“Truth in time creates trust. Nothing else, – answered the boss.

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