Elon Musk’s decision to pardon previously banned accounts on Twitter amounts to “opening the gates of hell for some of the worst people on the internet,” according to one expert.
Social media commentator Matt Navarra said the decision was “crazy” and would allow banned users to “come back out of their Twitter prison cells” for “harassing, abusing and disrupting” others on the site.
Mr Musk’s announcement followed a poll he posted on his timeline asking for a vote to reinstate accounts that “have not broken the law or committed serious spam” – the yes vote was 72%.
“The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox populi, vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, using a Latin phrase meaning “voice of the people, voice of God.”
Last week, the billionaire reinstated Donald Trump’s account after a similar poll — though the former US president has yet to tweet again — and has since taken to Twitter to allow what the former was known in the US as Kanye West when he was suspended for anti-Semitic remarks.
The new pardon — which Musk says takes effect next week — could allow a number of far-right and controversial figures, including Katie Hopkins and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, to return to the podium.
He has yet to provide further details on how Twitter will decide which banned accounts are eligible for a refund.
Mr Navarra also warned that there are no new technologies or policies to help Twitter manage the return of figures who previously used the site to spread abuse, hatred and division.
“It is very difficult to see any benefit or logical reason why this decision was made,” he told the PA news agency.
“There doesn’t seem to be any new technology or policy to counter the risk of bringing these people back to the platform.
“Twitter already doesn’t have the best track record of content moderation and such abusive, harassing behavior — and it’s stuck with these guys — so if they come back I’d struggle to see that.” I’m sure it can be anything but bad news.”
The CEOs of Tesla and SpaceX have repeatedly spoken out about their belief in allowing more free speech on the platform and overturning permanent bans from Twitter, despite warnings from online safety groups that doing so could lead to more abuse and harm on the website. Will — Investigators already reported a surge in abusive content appearing on Twitter after Musk completed his acquisition.
Mr Navarra said he understood Mr Musk’s proposed apology “from a free speech point of view”, allowing previously banned users to have “at least a basic presence” on the site and their access moderated as necessary. But it was predicted that many problems would arise. Decision.
“I think it’s understandable, but there still doesn’t seem to be the technology to handle it and certainly not the necessary staffing to handle the potentially rapid increase in abuse that we’re likely to see from this one.” decision,” he said.
“I think this is bad news for most people on the platform — even those who have never experienced harassment and abuse before. Nothing positive can come out of this.
“The only people who meet this step are guilty of some of Twitter’s worst crimes.”
He said the decision could be “another nail in the coffin” for Twitter’s advertising business, with some advertisers already stopping working with the platform over concerns over Mr Musk’s new approach to content and moderation.