Twitter overlord Elon Musk announced Thursday that he would allow more suspended accounts back on the site following the results of a poll he posted the day before Thanksgiving, claiming this to be the will of the platform’s users.
Musk made his decree alongside a Latin phrase translating approximately to: “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
The “amnesty” will start next week. Musk said it will only apply to accounts that have not broken laws or “engaged in egregious spam.”
Precisely which accounts will be reinstated is not clear. But if the recent past is any guide, it may be largely voices from the right. Musk brought back a number of right-wing users over the last week, including the misogynist media personality Jordan Peterson and the misogynist YouTuber Andrew Tate.
The misogynist former president, Donald Trump, was given a green light to tweet last weekend in a move that was also preceded by a Twitter poll. Trump, however, has yet to post any new tweets since getting kicked off Twitter in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2022
Musk now appears to have fully reneged on his Oct. 28 pledge to convene a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” before making any “major content decisions or account reinstatements.”
When confronted with evidence of this pledge in the form of a screenshot earlier this week, Musk claimed he was foiled by his enemies.
“A large coalition of political/social activist groups agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of advertising revenue if I agreed to this condition. They broke the deal,” Musk said Tuesday, without providing evidence.
Footage from a video call published by TMZ on Wednesday showed Musk describing Twitter’s council as more of an “advisory” group.
“At the end of the day it will be me deciding ... I don’t need to listen to what they say,” he said.
Musk appears to be brushing aside critics who say he’s gotten way too cozy with Twitter’s most prominent voices on the right-wing fringe, even as advertisers ― which provide the bulk of Twitter’s revenue ― seem skittish.
According to The Washington Post, more than a third of Twitter’s top 100 marketers have not posted any advertising on the site in the past two weeks, coinciding with Musk’s gutting of Twitter’s payroll.
Musk, the world’s richest person, completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter on Oct. 27.