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

Posted Nov 24, 2022, 11:16 AM

A semblance of democracy, with the risk of being able to express oneself unhindered on Twitter, including to distill hatred or false information. Elon Musk has launched a poll on the social network to find out if all the suspended accounts should be reinstated. A proposal that has so far received mostly positive opinions.

“Should Twitter offer a blanket amnesty to suspended accounts, as long as they haven’t broken the law or sent outrageous spam? Yes/No,” he asked Wednesday. Five hours later, around 2 million accounts had already voted, largely in favor of the “yes”.

Champion of the right to express oneself without hindrance

The new owner and CEO of Twitter rehabilitated, last Saturday, the account of ex-president Donald Trump, banned from the social network after the assault on Capitol Hill in Washington in January 2021. “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Elon Musk tweeted after 15 million counts responded to his poll on the return of the Republican multi-billionaire, including 51.8% in favor of “yes”.

The richest man in the world has repeatedly explained that he bought Twitter because he considers the platform to be the “digital public square” essential to democracy in the world. He considers the moderation of content too restrictive, but his absolutist vision raises fears of a surge of abuse (misinformation, hate speech) on the social network.

Many brands have already suspended ad spending on Twitter, which is 90% dependent on it for revenue. The libertarian entrepreneur first tried to appease them, recalling that the rules had not (yet) changed and promising not to take any decision on the reinstatement of accounts before the creation of a “content moderation council” .

A moderation with variable geometry

“A broad coalition of social and political activists agreed not to try to kill Twitter by draining our ad revenue on this condition,” he tweeted on Tuesday. But “they broke the agreement”, he added, as justification for the return of several personalities ousted from the platform.

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Friday, he has indeed already let back a comedian who had pretended to be him, “The Babylon Bee”, an American satirical site, and Jordan Peterson, a conservative media personality. The latter two had been suspended in March and August respectively for breaching the hate speech policy – both had made fun of transgender personalities.

Elon Musk, however, seems to have a limit: he has indicated that he will not allow again the American far-right conspirator Alex Jones, sued for several years by parents of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. of Newton, Conn., for claiming the massacre was just a staged show by opponents of guns. Having experienced the death of his first child, he explained to be “merciless towards anyone who uses the deaths of children for (gain) financial, political or fame gains”.

Avec AFP

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