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Elon Musk offers blanket amnesty for suspended Twitter accounts

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Photo: Gregory Bull/AP

Elon Musk has announced a blanket amnesty for suspended Twitter accounts in a move that brought a warning that “super-spreaders of hate” will return to the social media platform.

Twitter’s new owner said an amnesty for banned users would begin next week, after a majority of votes in a poll of his account supported the move. Accounts suspended from Twitter include Steve Bannon, former adviser to Donald Trump, right-wing British commentator Katie Hopkins and David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard.

Musk launched a poll on Wednesday asking whether a blanket amnesty should be offered to the accounts, provided they “don’t break the law or engage in blatant spam.” Musk did not specify what he meant. The poll turned up more than 3.1 million votes, with 72% in favor of an apology.

Announcing the result, Musk tweeted: “The people have spoken. The amnesty starts next week.” He added a Latin phrase “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, meaning “the voice of the people”. [is] God’s voice.

Musk’s announcement came days after Trump’s account was reinstated, as were the accounts of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate — who was banned from Twitter in 2017 for his highly misogynistic views — and the account of the former American Rapper Ye is unlocked. Kanye West, who was suspended last month for posting anti-Semitic comments.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a campaign group, said “superspreaders” of hateful content would benefit from the move and urged advertisers, many of whom have already stopped spending on the platform, to stop funding it from Twitter. shut down.

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CCDH chief executive Imran Ahmed said: “The super-spreaders of hate, abuse and harassment will only benefit from this latest decision by Twitter.” “The choice for advertisers has never been stronger: side with and support Elon Musk, or protect their brands and ensure their marketing money is not used to facilitate the spread of hate, abuse and misinformation.” not self-evident.”

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a US campaign group that tracks “conservative disinformation”, said undoing the suspension would turn Twitter into an “engine of radicalization”.

Musk this week declined to support conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has promoted the false claim that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax, saying he has a penchant for people who profit from the deaths of children for personal fame. There is “no mercy”. Other banned Twitter accounts include those of right-wing author Milo Yiannopoulos and former BBC presenter David Icke.

Musk previously stated that there would be no account recovery until a newly announced Content Moderation Council meeting. However, Tesla’s CEO then said human rights groups “broke the deal” by urging advertisers to stop spending on the platform.

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