Musk Says He’ll Grant General Amnesty to Suspended Twitter Accounts

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
November 25, 2022 Updated: November 28, 2022

New Twitter owner Elon Musk said he’ll begin granting a general amnesty for some previously banned accounts on the social media platform following an online poll.

The move, announced on Nov. 24, marks a reversal from the site’s previous policies regarding content moderation.

“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” he added, using a Latin phrase that translates to “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”

Musk’s tweet was in response to a poll conducted on Nov. 23 in which he asked his Twitter followers if the platform should “offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?”

The results showed that 72.4 percent favor the move, among the more than 3.16 million votes that were cast.

Musk didn’t provide exact details as to how Twitter would establish which accounts were suspended for breaking the law or engaging in “egregious spam.”

Some concerns have been raised, such as those by Alejandra Caraballo, clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s cyberlaw clinic, in a report by The Washington Post.

“What Musk is doing is existentially dangerous for various marginalized communities,” Caraballo said. “It’s like opening the gates of hell in terms of the havoc it will cause.”

Twitter Reactivated Trump’s Account

The billionaire businessman’s announcement regarding reinstating banned accounts comes shortly after he reactivated former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account following a similar poll in which he asked for users’ opinions on the matter.

In that poll, 51.8 percent of users approved of reinstating Trump’s account.

Prior to the account reinstatement, Trump had been locked out of the closed-down account, which has more than 87 million followers, for nearly two years by Twitter because of an alleged “violation of the glorification of violence policy.”

He has yet to post on the newly restored account after previously suggesting that he has no interest in rejoining, instead preferring his own social media site, Truth Social.

Musk’s decision to restore Trump’s account has been denounced by activist groups, which have since urged companies to pull their advertising spending on the platform over fears the platform is no longer “safe.”

The leaders of more than 60 activist groups that are part of the “Stop Toxic Twitter” coalition published a statement on Nov. 20 alleging that Musk had turned Twitter into “a hellscape of misinformation, hate, and extremism” by reinstating the former president’s account.

The coalition also claimed that Musk had backtracked on his promise to establish a “content moderation council” before any decisions were made regarding the reinstatement of certain accounts.

“Unless and until Musk can be trusted to enforce Twitter’s prior community standards, the platform is not safe for users or advertisers,” the coalition stated.

Musk, in turn, accused the coalition of political and social activist groups of breaking an agreement regarding the content moderation council.

“A large coalition of political/social activist groups agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of advertising revenue if I agreed to this condition,” but they eventually “broke the deal,” Musk wrote on Nov. 22 when questioned by a Twitter user regarding the lack of such a council.

Since Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion last month, the Tesla CEO has restored a number of accounts that were previously banned or suspended, including the nonprofit investigative journalism watchdog Project Veritas and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

Musk recently wrote that Twitter has a new policy of “freedom of speech but not freedom of reach,” adding that the platform will not promote and will demonetize tweets engaging in hate speech or other “negative” content.

“You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet [sic],” Musk wrote.

Twitter officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.