Musk says granting 'amnesty' to suspended Twitter accounts
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego. New Twitter owner Elon Musk says 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 Thursday, Nov. 24, 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.” (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — 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 per cent.

"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 October 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 US midterm elections he urged "independent-minded" people to vote Republican.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy