Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has announced that the social media platform will offer “general amnesty” to previously suspended accounts beginning next week after conducting an informal poll on whether it should be permitted to users who had not breached any law or were involved in egregious spam.
On Wednesday, the world’s richest man posted a poll question on Twitter pertaining to the subject, and 72.4 per cent of users voted in favour of granting the amnesty while 27.6 per cent went against it. In one of the latest tweets, Musk acknowledged the results and said, “the people have spoken”.
“Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site, repeating a Latin adage that means “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
Musk has been using the adage lately when talking about Twitter polls.
More than 3.15 million respondents (3,162,112 to be precise) voted in favour of the amnesty. The informal poll was the same kind of “yes/no” that Musk hatched last week to reinstate former US President Donald Trump on the platform.
Trump was banned from Twitter early last year for his alleged role in the January 6 US Capitol attack by a mob of his supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Besides Trump, satirical website Babylon Bee and comedian Kathy Griffin were reinstated on Twitter. Musk, however, has said that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will not make a return to Twitter and will remain banned. On Sunday, the Tesla CEO and SpaceX owner said he had “no mercy” for those who would use “deaths of children for gain, politics or fame” owing to his own experience with the demise of his first child.
Jones has been asked to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for his lies regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, US, wherein Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children.
Musk’s informal polls to address issues have become a part of an array of changes that Twitter is witnessing since his takeover of the platform on October 27. Monitoring content and keeping hateful ones at bay have become a matter of urgent concern since the world’s richest man’s entry, with major advertisers keeping away from the site. Several celebrities have also bid adieu to Twitter since Musk’s takeover.
Twitter’s new boss – who calls himself a free-speech absolutist – last Saturday announced to curtail the reach of what he said were “negative or hate tweets”. Though he didn’t provide any clarification of which content come under the said category, Musk said the new policy is about “freedom of speech” and not “freedom of reach”.
These developments come at a time when Musk has been facing immense backlash over a multitude of changes that he has brought in, including mass layoffs and insisting employees to work “long hours”, among others.
(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)