Musk says he has granted ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk said Thursday he is granting “amnesty” to suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will fuel an increase in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

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

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

Musk used the same Latin phrase after posting a similar poll last weekend before restoring former President Donald Trump’s account, which Twitter banned for the Capitol uprising on January 6, 2021. encourage. Trump has said he will not return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.

Those online polls are purely scientific and are easily 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 is increasingly becoming the world’s de facto public square. That included a increase in racist abuse of World Cup soccer players that Twitter is allegedly failing to act on.

The uptick in contentious content is largely due to the disorder after Musk decided to lay off half of the company’s 7,500-person workforce, fire top executives, and then issue a series of ultimatums that prompted hundreds more to quit. An undisclosed number of contractors responsible for content moderation were also released. Among those who quit because of a lack of faith in Musk’s willingness to keep Twitter from devolving into uncontrolled speech chaos was Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth.

Major advertisers have also abandoned the platform.

On October 28, the day after taking over, Musk tweeted that no suspended accounts would be reinstated until Twitter established a “content moderation council” with diverse opinions that would consider the cases.

On Tuesday, he said he was reneging on that promise because he had agreed to a “grand coalition of political-social activist groups” who later “broke the deal” insisting that advertisers stop at least temporarily their Bringing Twitter. business.

A day before, Twitter reposted the personal account of the Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene right, who was banned in January for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policies.

Meanwhile, Musk has been increasingly taunting right-wing figures on Twitter. Ahead of this month’s US mid-term elections he urged “independents” to vote Republican.

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

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