Elon Musk has announced suspended Twitter accounts will be offered an ‘amnesty’ from next week after a poll revealed a landslide of users support the move.
The head of the company, who completed a $44 billion takeover in October, said accounts for users will be restored as long as they haven’t broken the law or engaged in spamming.
The poll posted on Wednesday asked: ‘Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?’
Some 72.4 percent of voters said yes, while 27.6 percent said no. There were 3,162,112 votes cast during the 24-hour poll.
Musk said on Thursday: ‘The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.’ The Latin phrase means ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’.
The declaration opens up the possibility that thousands of suspended accounts will be immediately reinstated. It’s not yet clear whether there will be a vetting process before accounts are reactivated, or whether Twitter will simply take a broad brush approach and restore all of them at once.
Musk polled Twitter users on whether suspended accounts should be offered an amnesty and the majority of voters chose yes
More than 3 million people responded to the poll, with an overwhelming majority choosing yes
The poll follows another recent survey which asked whether former President Donald Trump should be reinstated.
After a majority said yes, Trump’s account was reactivated – and then Trump said he didn’t see ‘any reason’ to rejoin anyway.
In his earlier announcement that Trump’s account would be restored, Musk also used the Latin phrase ‘Vox Populi, Vox Dei’.
Musk has already reinstated several accounts since his takeover.
They include those for Kathy Griffin, Jordan Peterson and The Babylon Bee.
Conservative author and psychologist Dr Peterson was suspended from the platform after saying transgender star Elliot Page had his breasts removed by a ‘criminal physician.’
The Babylon Bee – which had its account restricted in march for naming U.S. assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, ‘Man of the Year’ – got full access to its account as well.
Griffin was recently suspended for impersonating Musk on Twitter.
Other recent developments at Twitter include:
Musk recently reinstated former President Donald Trump after he was kicked off the site for posts made after the January 6 Capitol riot. The two are pictured at the Oval Office of the White House.
Kathy Griffin (left) was suspended for impersonating Musk on Twitter. Jordan Peterson (right) was suspended after saying transgender star Elliot Page had his breasts removed by a ‘criminal physician’. Their accounts have also been restored.
Among those expected to be brought back to Twitter under Musk include former Trump advisers Roger Stone (left) and Steve Bannon (right), who were booted from the platform in 2017 and 2020, respectively
In a recent explanation of his policy on account suspensions, Musk said: ‘New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.
‘Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.
‘You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.’
He added: ‘Note, this applies just to the individual tweet, not the whole account.’
Polls on Twitter are open to all users and are unscientific and potentially targeted by fake accounts and bots.
A blanket amnesty for suspended accounts could potentially alarm government authorities that are keeping a close look at Musk’s handling of hateful speech since he bought the influential platform.
It could also spook Apple and Google, tech titans that have the power to ban Twitter from their mobile app stores over content concerns.
Trump was banned from the platform early last year for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Trump said he’d heard Musk’s poll was getting a big response, but that he doesn’t ‘see any reason for it (a return to Twitter).’
In a recent explanation of his policy on account suspensions, Musk said: ‘New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.’
Donald Trump was restored after a Musk poll – then the former President said he’s unlikely to return anyway
‘They have a lot of problems at Twitter. You see what ‘s going on. It (the company) may make it, it may not make it, but the problems are incredible and the engagements are negative,’ he said.
Along with Trump, the names booted from Twitter include Roger Stone and Steve Bannon.
Stone has said he wants to come back after being banned in 2017 for attacking a journalist.
He was briefly back on Twitter in April using an alternate account as he said he was ‘anxious to see how strong Elon Musk’s commitment to free speech is.’
Steve Bannon is another former Trump adviser looking to return to the platform after being kicked out in 2020.
The former White House chief strategist had posted a video suggesting Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.
Kanye West recently had his account reinstated after suspension which followed a series of anti-Semitic rants across social media.
He tweeted on October 9, that he would go ‘death con 3’ on ‘JEWISH PEOPLE,’ an apparent reference to Defcon, the U.S. military defense readiness system.
Suspension lifted: Rapper Kanye West has returned to Twitter after drawing widespread backlash over multiple anti-Semitic rants across social media
‘Testing Testing Seeing if my Twitter is unblocked,’ the rapper tweeted after his account was restored
Subsequently, his Twitter and Instagram accounts were blocked and his lucrative deals with Adidas, Gap, Balenciaga and Vogue all abruptly ended – but the performer was unrepentant, refusing in multiple interviews to apologize.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has said that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will not be returning to Twitter and will remain banned from the platform.
Musk on Sunday said he had ‘no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame’ due to his own experience with the death of his first child.
Jones has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for his lies about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 people, mostly children.
Musk did not make clear whether the bans to be covered by the poll were permanent suspensions or temporary ones.
The future of content moderation on Twitter has become an urgent concern, with major advertisers keeping away from the site after a failed relaunch earlier this month saw a proliferation of fake accounts, causing embarrassment.
Meanwhile the teams in charge of keeping nefarious activity off the site have been gutted, victims of Musk-led layoffs that saw half of total employees leave the company.