Elon Musk says granting ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts

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Musk has been getting increasingly chummy on Twitter with right-wing figures.

New Twitter owner Elon Musk said Thursday that he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The billionaire’s announcement came after he asked in a poll posted to his timeline to vote on reinstatements for accounts that have not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” The yes vote was 72%.

“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”

Musk used the same Latin phrase after posting a similar poll last last weekend before reinstating the account of former President Donald Trump, which Twitter had banned for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Trump has said he won’t return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.

Such online polls are anything but scientific and can easily be influenced by bots.

In the month since Musk took over Twitter, groups that monitor the platform for racist, anti-Semitic and other toxic speech say it’s been on the rise on the world’s de facto public square. That has included a surge in racist abuse of World Cup soccer players that Twitter is allegedly failing to act on.

The uptick in harmful content is in large part due to the disorder following Musk’s decision to lay off half the company’s 7,500-person workforce, fire top executives, and then institute a series of ultimatums that prompted hundreds more to quit. Also let go were an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation. Among those resigning over a lack of faith in Musk’s willingness to keep Twitter from devolving into a chaos of uncontrolled speech were Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth.

Major advertisers have also abandoned the platform.

On Oct. 28, the day after he took control, Musk tweeted that no suspended accounts would be reinstated until Twitter formed a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints that would consider the cases.

On Tuesday, he said he was reneging on that promise because he’d agreed to at the insistence of “a large coalition of political-social activists groups” who later ”broke the deal” by urging that advertisers at least temporarily stop giving Twitter their business.

A day earlier, Twitter reinstated the personal account of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, which was banned in January for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policies.

Musk, meanwhile, has been getting increasingly chummy on Twitter with right-wing figures. Before this month’s U.S. midterm elections he urged “independent-minded” people to vote Republican.

report from the European Union published Thursday said Twitter took longer to review hateful content and removed less of it this year compared with 2021. The report was based on data collected over the spring — before Musk acquired Twitter — as part of an annual evaluation of online platforms’ compliance with the bloc’s code of conduct on disinformation. It found that Twitter assessed just over half of the notifications it received about illegal hate speech within 24 hours, down from 82% in 2021.

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Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


8 comments

  • Paul Passarelli

    November 25, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    The Left really doesn’t understand freedom of speech. They believe in ‘safe spaces’ in which the examination of ideas is impossible. But their foolishness is revealed because wiping away the surface dust of what they call ‘hate speech’ does nothing. The deeper ideas that are not exposed to the disinfecting power of sunlight fester, infect, and metastasize, but they never go away.

    • Elliott Offen

      November 25, 2022 at 5:55 pm

      Actually hate speech and false information are detrimental to others so people don’t have the right to make everyone else’s life a living hell because they have mental problems. Plus right wing trolls can potentially wreck a social media site and make it unprofitable. Who the hell wants to let people run a social media platform into the ground all in the name of protection of “free speech” for trolls? Just stupid. Why doesn’t the idiot just go ahead and let ISIS on there and recruit all in the name of “free speech.”

      • Elliott Offen

        November 29, 2022 at 11:46 pm

        Update: I am a moron. After further research I found out that the previous administration of Twitter refused to ban the accounts of taliban members after they took over Afghanistan and were publicly celebrating it on Twitter while also discussing killing their enemies. This refutes my point. My opinions should not be trusted and you should disregard everything I say, thank you.

    • Elliott Offen

      November 26, 2022 at 10:01 am

      Hate speech and false information can sink a platform and make it unprofitable. You go start a social media site and invite even ISIS to exercise their “free speech” and see how far that gets you.

      • Paul Passarelli

        November 26, 2022 at 12:51 pm

        you wrote: “Hate speech and false information can sink a platform and make it unprofitable.”

        I agree. But that’s because of the dumbing down of the population. A phenomenon I blame solidly on the Democrats.

        For more than 60 years people have been indoctrinated to follow the movements of the crowd. To avoid making waves. Taught that their contrary opinions are their defect. It’s the most oppressive form of social pressure.

        The problem is that it requires a minimum level of intelligence to participate in meaningful discussion. Most people fall below that threshold. And when they are made aware of their shortcomings, their reaction is to try to shut down those that are able to participate.

        And because those of us that can have been drilled not to embarrass those that you who can’t, we relent, we allow the lowest common denominator to prevail.

        Someday, those with the means are going to grow tired of capitulating to those that lack, and there will be a global extermination of everyone on the underperforming side of the bell curve.

        I don’t see that as a desirable outcome, but I do see it as an inevitable one. And that’s part of the reason I despise the Leftists. The *DO* see the eventual culling of the dregs, the deplorables, those that cling to their guns & religion as a desirable outcome. But they are too embarrassed to admit it, and too self deceived to admit that they are not likely to survive the blades of whirlwind they have wrought.

        If you believe nothing else I say, consider this one thing. If the SHTF yesterday, I’d’ve survived, because chance favors the prepared mind.

        If the Wokists, Leftists, and Progressive-Socialists care one iota about how they will be remembered to history, I can assure you it will be as the villains that brought about the apocalypse.

    • marylou

      November 26, 2022 at 6:53 pm

      I believe I understand free speech! Musk has had some problems of his own respecting other people’s rights, like those of employees who criticize him. So, I’m more concerned that Twitter will censor opinions that Musk doesn’t like.

      While he has been reversing right-wing accounts, Musk is keeping other suspensions in place, including a nonprofit that in 2020 published documents from 200+ law enforcement agencies that revealed police misconduct—a permanent suspension at police “request”.

      Look at Florida’s Right-wing government: retaliation against Disney, WOKE Act, retaliatory suspension of Andrew Warren. Nationally: Global and domestic abortion Gag rules that will return if Republicans regain power, and the persecution of Julian Assange, immediately come to mind.

  • Paul Passarelli

    November 27, 2022 at 12:03 am

    Thank you — for confirming your lack of understanding of Free Speech. Musk is not the government, he’s the new owner of Twitter. He’s 100% within his rights to shitcan any employee that is even the slightest bit insubordinate.

    However, you’ll note that the tweets the fired employees wrote are still there, their accounts were not suspended, only their employment was terminated. Free Speech has consequences!

    Reinstating accounts that were banned despite not having violated any laws is a smart thing to do. You’re just annoyed because undoing that travesty demonstrates in high relief just how badly the old management was behaving. They are the ones that put agenda over civil liberties.

    I’m as appalled over any allegations of police misconduct as the next man. If you search the “Please don’t taze me bro.” event from a number of years back you might even find my writings on the how I thought the ‘officer’ in question should have been dispatched by the sheeple in the crowd. However, if the accounts you are referring to are the ones I believe they are, those are cases under actual investigation amd even litigation, and spilling the beans in the public forum will only dirty the results of the proceedings.

    Disney basically got too big for its britches. In case you missed it that CEO was recently sacked by the board of directors nad his predecessor reinstated.

    Andrew Warren is a sworn officer of the court and a public official that vowed to disobey the laws of the state of Florida, and was rightfully sanctioned.

    I am unaware of any “gag rules” you’ll need to provide context & details (if you can). But please do try to keep the tales you tell restricted to the facts, and free from distortions (if you can).

    Julian Assange — I got nothing. He’s being persecuted. But I’m pretty darn certain that it was the Obozo administration that sent him into exile.

    And FWIW corporal Bradley Manning did commit willful treason in defiance of the UCMJ, and should have been executed for his crimes. Edward Snowden, being a civilian, was a legitimate whistle blower.

    Any more trips down memory (revisionist history) lane you’d like to take and have debunked?

    We all know you are a Fake Alias Troll and you fit the label to a tee. You can’t even engage in a single honest discussion or answer a simple question without engaging in propagande, that makes you a pathetic excuse for a person.

    • marylou

      November 27, 2022 at 7:23 pm

      It was “Free Speech Absolutist” Musk who mentioned Free Speech. And you. I was not talking about Musk’s LEGAL rights. Firing an employee shows Musk’s lack of respect for other people’s rights, and demonstrates that he feels that he, himself, should be deciding who is entitled to Free Speech. My guess is that he left the account as a reminder and threat, like a “To whom it may concern” warning.

      Consequences? When Free Speech is retaliated against it–as you know–is not free.

      Whether reinstating accounts was smart or not remains to be seen. Advertisers don’t like it! They like profits.!

      I’m not “annoyed”. I don’t know anything about the previous management. Sorry if you read more into my comment than what I had intended to say. I was not giving an opinion on what speech should or shouldn’t be banned/flagged/suspended on Twitter. Just replying to your comment about the “Left”, and commenting on Musk’s history.

      I will look for your comments. The suspended account I spoke of is Distributed Denial of Secrets, the nonprofit collective who published the documents as “BlueLeaks”. They’ve also published documents on Jan6 organizers and participants, etc. Mainstream news, researchers, and the public depend on DDoS.

      Please re-read your Disney comment! You think it’s appropriate for the government to violate Disney’s Free Speech rights simply because the state doesn’t like what they said?? The free market should handle that.

      Andrew Warren was an elected official who spoke. He did not DO.

      “Gag” rules started with Reagan. They’ve been in and out of the courts since. Trump re-imposed and expanded them. Globally, they barred family planning clinics that get US aid from not only providing abortions, but even discussing abortion with patients. Organizations who failed to comply lost US aid even if that aid did not fund abortions or discussions. Trump expanded the “Gag” rules to cover US clinics. Family planning clinics that received Title X funding for contraceptives, cancer screenings, testing, etc, could not refer for abortion. Clinics that referred or provided abortions could no longer receive Title 10 funds for the many other services that they provided. It has been disastrous. Biden has reversed the bans, but a Republican will revive them.also They are aka the Mexico City policy.

      I’m glad that we agree on Assange. I could not care less who started it.

      I don’t know enough about treason to comment on Manning. Agree on Snowden.

      Paul, I will have to wait for you to catch me spreading false or misleading information again. (This is true)a couple days ago, I accidentally deleted quotes, research, pages of Cassandra’s anarchist ramblings… So I’m having to make it all up as I go.

      If you have any “simple questions”, this is your chance. As I just told you, I am temporarily out of propaganda.
      Always my pleasure, Paul

Comments are closed.


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