Elon Musk announced that he would grant “amnesty” to suspended Twitter accounts, prompting experts and others to forecast a rise of harassment, hate speech, and misinformation.
In a poll, the billionaire asked his supporters to vote for reinstatements of accounts that had not “broken or engaged in egregious Spam”.
72% voted yes.
“The people have spoken. Next week, amnesty will begin. Vox Populi and Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted using a Latin phrase which translates to “the voice the people, the voice God”.
Although it was welcomed by many people, the apparent decision provoked a flood of criticism.
Angelo Carusone is the chairman and president at Media Matters, a liberal non-profit advocacy group and media watchdog. He said that the move could lead to the American Nazi Party’s return and “a bunch of… conspiracy theoryrs who engage in harassment, abuse, and threats.”
He stated that reversing suspensions would result in “turning Twitter into an one-stop shop to operationalise doxxing, harassment, and an engine for radicalisation”.
He told the Washington Post that even if you aren’t on Twitter, you could still be the recipient these campaigns.
Hopewell Chin’ono, an award winning African journalist, tweeted: “This would be a disaster especially in Africa where State sponsored Ghost account were suspended for endangering journalists & human rights activists.
“You would have let vile people put our lives at risk as journalists!” @elonmusk, you will have blood on the hands
Michael Edison Hayden of the Southern Poverty Law Centre said that Mr Musk was “bringing back white supremacy in a big manner and wants everyone to be aware about it”.
He listed a number of white supremacist and far-right figures, including David Duke (former Ku Klux Klan leader), whose accounts he said would be restored as a result.
Matt Navarra is a social media expert who was formerly a digital advisor for the UK government. He said that Elon Musk is unlocking all doors in the Twitter Jail. Things are going to get even more insane.
After posting a similar poll last weekend, the Tesla and SpaceX boss used the exact same Latin phrase to reinstate the account of former President Donald Trump almost two years after his removal.
After the attack on the US Capitol by Trump’s supporters, which left many people dead, Mr Trump was temporarily suspended from Twitter in January 2021.
Twitter stated that the decision was taken after the riot “due to further incitement towards violence”.
The former president said that more than 15 million votes had been cast. However, he told a rally Saturday night: “I don’t see any reason to [return to Twitter].”
KanyeWest also returned to the platform this week. His account was previously restricted after he stated that he would “death con3 on JEWISH PEERS”.
Musk mocked his critics in posts posted Wednesday morning.
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“Wasn’t Twitter supposed to be dead by now or some other reason?” He posted, and then he added “Maybe it’s gone to hell/hell but don’t know”.
Many employees were fired or forced to leave after Musk’s $44bn Twitter acquisition.
Business Insider reported that Musk fired “several more” Twitter employees on Thursday night, just before Thanksgiving in the US.
According to reports, the firings were unexpected by staff because Musk had stated earlier in the week that there would no further layoffs at the company.