Elon Musk, the newly appointed owner of Twitter, announced on Thursday that he is allowing suspended accounts “amnesty,” which internet safety experts believe will increase harassment, hate speech, and false information.
The billionaire made his revelation after 72% of those who voted in favor of reinstatements for accounts that had not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam” said so in a poll he put to his timeline.
“The people have had their say. Next week, amnesty will start. Musk used the Latin term “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” which translates to “the voice of the people, the voice of God” in his tweet.
After publishing a similar poll last weekend, Musk used the exact Latin phrase before reactivating the account of former President Donald Trump, which Twitter had suspended for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol uprising.
Trump has stated he won’t use Twitter again, but he hasn’t taken down his account.
Such online surveys are far from scientific and susceptible to manipulation by bots.
Racist, anti-Semitic, and other toxic speech has reportedly increased on the de facto public forum of the world in the month since Musk assumed control of Twitter.
This has included a rise in racial taunts directed at World Cup soccer players, which Twitter is supposedly ignoring.
The chaos that followed Musk’s decision to remove top executives, fire half of the company’s 7,500 employees, and then issue a series of ultimatums that led to hundreds more resignations is mostly to blame for the increase in harmful content.
Untold numbers of contractors in charge of content moderation were also fired.
Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, was one of those quitting due to a lack of confidence in Musk’s ability to prevent Twitter from deteriorating into a cacophony of emotional speech.
Significant advertisers have also stopped using the platform.
Musk announced on Twitter on October 28, the day he assumed leadership, that no suspended accounts would be restored until Twitter established a “content moderation council” with various perspectives to weigh the circumstances.
Tuesday, he announced that he was breaking his commitment because “a broad coalition of political-social activist groups” had forced him to do so.
He claimed these groups later “broke the bargain” by requesting that advertisers temporarily stop using Twitter as a platform for their advertising.
The day before, Twitter unbanned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account for breaking the social media site’s COVID misinformation guidelines and reinstated it.
While this is happening, Musk has been becoming closer to right-wing celebrities on Twitter.
He urged “independent-minded” voters to support Republicans before this month’s midterm elections in the United States.