Elon Musk Allowing Suspended Accounts Back On Twitter
New Twitter CEO Elon Musk has restored the Twitter accounts of Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Green, among others, after being banned previously.
It was only a month ago when Elon Musk closed a deal to acquire Twitter, and he almost immediately began firing top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and general counsel Sam Edgett. Shortly after that, he laid off nearly half of the company’s 7,500-person workforce. Now, according to Deadline, the self-made billionaire is stirring up even more controversy following his recent announcement that he plans to begin reinstating suspended accounts of users, who were banned for reasons including violent threats, misinformation, and harassment.
Elon Musk came to the decision to reinstate suspended accounts following a poll on the social networking platform, which asked, “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” The poll, which closed yesterday at around 12:45pm eastern time, saw 3 million respondents and over 72% of them voted yes. After the poll concluded, Musk made the statement, “The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week.”
Prior to his most recent poll, Elon Musk used a poll last week to determine if former President Donald Trump should be allowed back on Twitter, who was banned following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. A narrow majority of the respondents voted for Trump, and on November 19, Musk announced that the former president’s account would be reinstated. Twitter was the first platform to ban Trump for glorifying violence, and now it’s the first to restore his access.
The same day Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s Twitter account, he also reversed bans on several high-profile far-right accounts, including Jordan Peterson, The Babylon Bee, and Marjorie Taylor Green. The Georgia Representative’s personal account was suspended in January for violating the platform’s covid-19 misinformation policies and pushing violent and extreme rhetoric. Following her account reinstatement, Green wished her followers a Happy Thanksgiving with an image showing herself and several other right-wing figures having dinner with Musk.
Not surprisingly, the decision by Elon Musk to reinstate numerous banned accounts on Twitter was met with an enormous amount of backlash. A large influx of users had already departed the platform due to the recent lay-offs and controversial company changes, but the billionaire entrepreneur’s latest move saw even more users deactivating their accounts. His decision has been called careless and dangerous by outraged users who fear there is no longer protection from harassment and vicious bullying.
Elon Musk has been extremely vocal in his disagreement with Twitter’s policy of permanent bans. Last week, he tweeted, “New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, not freedom of reach.” Although he previously indicated that the platform would be forming a content moderation council, there’s no evidence to suggest that one has been formed.
This isn’t the first time Elon Musk has made headlines for his purported mishandling of Twitter, and it likely won’t be the last. His acquisition of the company has been plagued by controversy going all the way back to late January when he first began investing in the company. Nevertheless, Musk is now the sole director of the social networking platform and what he says goes whether we like it or not.