Science

Elon Musk announces ‘general amnesty’ for banned Twitter accounts

Elon Musk has launched a new poll on recovering suspended Twitter accounts, systematizing this crude method for making important content moderation decisions.

• Read also: “Clash” of cultures between Twitter and Musk

• Read also: Elon Musk delays the launch of the new Twitter “Blue Verified” system

• Read also: Donald Trump’s Twitter account restored after poll

“Should Twitter offer a full amnesty to banned accounts as long as they don’t break the law and send outrageous spam? Yes/No,” he asked on Wednesday.

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

The new owner and CEO of Twitter has already rehabilitated on Saturday the account of former US President Donald Trump, banned from the social network after the storming of Capitol Hill in Washington in January 2021, due to the risk of inciting violence.

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Elon Musk tweeted after 15 million accounts responded to his poll on the return of the Republican multi-billionaire, including 51.8% in favor of yes.

The world’s richest man has repeatedly explained that he bought Twitter because he sees the platform as a “digital public square” essential to the world’s democracy.

He sees content moderation as too restrictive, but his absolutist vision of free speech raises concerns about the surge in abuse (misinformation, hate speech) on the social network.

Many brands have already suspended ad spending on Twitter, which is 90% dependent on Twitter for revenue.

The libertarian entrepreneur initially tried to reassure them by reminding them that the rules had not (yet) changed and promising not to make any decisions about reinstating accounts until a “content moderation board” was set up.

“A broad coalition of civic and political activists have agreed not to try to kill Twitter by depriving us of ad revenue on this condition,” he wrote on Tuesday.

But “they broke the agreement,” he added, as an excuse for the return of several individuals who had been expelled from the platform.

On Friday, he did already let go of a comedian who posed as himself, Babylon Bee, an American satirical website, and Jordan Peterson, a conservative media figure.

The last two were suspended in March and August respectively for hate speech, both of which made fun of transgender people.

However, Elon Musk seems to have a limit: he has made it clear that he will no longer allow far-right American conspirator Alex Jones, who has been sued by the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, for several years. ., for the fact that the massacre was just a staging of opponents of weapons.

After surviving the death of his first child, he explained that he was “merciless towards anyone who takes advantage of the death of children for (acquisition of) financial, political or glorious gain.”

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

He brushes aside criticism several times a day on his 118 million followers account with memes (parody images), emoticons, provocations, personal attacks and pirouettes.

“He didn’t understand that Twitter itself is a brand, the platform has a seal. Now companies don’t want to be associated with it anymore,” said Sarah Roberts, a social media professor at UCLA.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss is also in danger of being overtaken by regulators.

Twitter does need to comply with European laws, including the Digital Services Acts (DSA), which require platforms to quickly remove illegal content and, in particular, fight disinformation.

Arcom, the French media cop, reminded the California group of its “commitment” on Monday and asked it to “confirm” by Thursday that it is “capable” of handling it and “keep it informed of short-term developments.” human and technological resources dedicated to this.

The quirky entrepreneur is encouraged in his arbitrary methods by his army of admirers.

But even some of his fans seem tired.

“Elon Musk, I am a grateful customer of Starlink (Internet Service Provider and subsidiary of SpaceX, ed.). I had a Tesla. I love SpaceX. Twitter is different. (…) It is your politics, your agenda and your opinion that are the problem and destroy trust,” tweeted John Phillips, lawyer and authorized netizen.

“Truth in time creates trust. Nothing else,” the boss replied.

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