Some of the most controversial right-wing figures are set to return to Twitter next week after Elon Musk announced a “general amnesty” for all suspended accounts.
Twitter’s CEO polled users by asking, “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to banned accounts provided they haven’t broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?”
Nearly 3.2 million people responded, with an overwhelming majority – 72.4 percent – voting yes.
“People have spoken,” Musk tweeted Thursday. “The amnesty starts next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
The billionaire used the same Latin phrase, which translates to “The voice of the people is the voice of God,” after recovering former President Donald Trump’s account over the weekend.
He also polled users about this decision and received more than 15 million votes – with 51.8 percent of the votes in favour.
Musk has already recovered a number of suspended accounts, including a satirical news website, since completing his $44 billion acquisition last month The Babylon Beethe undercover journalism organization Project Veritas; and Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson.
He said this week that he would soon reveal how Twitter, under previous leadership, has unfairly targeted Conservatives.
Responding to its poll, one user said, “Well, whatever it does, Twitter should be clear and consistent about its rules and penalties for violating them, enforcement should be unbiased, and enforcement mechanisms should not be easily abused by people with agendas. “
Musk replied, “The more I learn, the worse it gets. The world should know the truth about what happened on Twitter. Transparency will win people’s trust.”
Another user said: “I heard from a primary source that political groups would regularly contact Twitter to discourage critics of their candidates, and Twitter would be happy to do so. That seems to put a finger on the scales of democracy.”
Musk said, “It is objective that ‘conservative’ political candidates were more negatively affected than ‘progressive’ candidates. Anyone who uses Twitter knows that. The question is just one of magnitude.”
Another user asked why there are algorithms that “deboost” certain content at all. “We know they are never used for liberal accounts. Why can’t they be removed altogether?” They asked.
Musk stated, “They must exist to prevent scams, spam, NSFW and illegal content from going viral, but obviously they should not be used for political purposes.”
Podcast host Eric Weinstein asked, “Can we check how much these manipulators have controlled/distorted the world’s online conversations for years through throttling, bots, shadow banning, banning, etc. and general dirty tricks?” This question doesn’t go away. The graph below is an *indirect* indication of throttling.”
Musk agreed, “It was really bad. Far-left San Francisco/Berkeley views were broadcast to the world via Twitter. I’m sure this doesn’t surprise anyone who looks closely. Twitter is moving fast to level the playing field. No more thumbs on the scales!”
High-profile figures previously banned for violating the Twitter Rules include far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson, Canadian podcaster Stefan Molyneux and British commentator Katie Hopkins, among others.
It’s not clear if controversial InfoWars host Alex Jones will be included in Musk’s amnesty.
This week, Musk insisted he would never let Jones back on the platform, claiming he had taken advantage of the deaths of children.
Jones has been slapped with $1.4 billion in defamation damages over allegations that the 2012 Connecticut Sandy Hook school shooting – which resulted in 27 deaths – was a “hoax”.
The 48-year-old conspiracy theorist, who has repeatedly apologized to parents, claimed he was subjected to a “show trial, a literal kangaroo court”.
“Is this a fight session? Are we in China?” Jones said in a furious outburst during testimony in Waterbury, Connecticut in September. “I’ve said sorry a hundred times, and I’m done saying sorry to myself.”
One of those who pushed Musk to restore Jones’ account was internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, who said allowing the InfoWars founder to tweet would demonstrate “genuine freedom of speech.”
Dotcom is wanted by the US Department of Justice for crimes including copyright infringement and racketeering.
But Musk was unmoved by the request, citing the death of his own child.
“My first born child died in my arms,” he tweeted.
“I felt his last heartbeat. I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics, or fame.”
In 2002, Musk and his first wife Justine Musk had their first baby, Nevada Alexander Musk.
He died of sudden infant death syndrome at just 10 weeks old. The couple had five more children.
In late October, Musk said that “no account recoveries” would be made until a “Content Moderation Council with widely differing viewpoints” was established.
But this week he announced the proposal had been abandoned.
“A grand coalition of political/social activist groups have agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of ad revenue if I agree to that condition. They broke the deal,” he said.
Originally posted when Elon Musk announced a “general amnesty” for all suspended Twitter accounts