In the name of freedom of expression, Elon Musk decided to grant “a general amnesty” to accounts previously suspended by Twitter – “polite way of saying it has decided to welcome back some of its worst and most harmful users”, observed The Verge.
Under the previous management, Twitter had worked for years, “with great difficulty”at “exclude” of the Guilty Users Platform “appalling abuse, harassment and misinformation”adds the website.
But “the people have spoken”, estimated Elon Musk on Thursday, after organizing a user survey – similar to the one that allowed Donald Trump to be reinstated last week. On Wednesday, the billionaire had asked his subscribers if they would agree to offer “a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided they have not broken the law, nor contributed to the sending of flagrant spam”.
Thursday evening, more than 3 million users had spoken, and 72.4% of them had declared themselves in favor of amnesty. “Vox Populi vox dei” (“the voice of the people is the voice of God”), Musk tweeted, promising amnesty for next week, though “Such polls are unscientific and can be easily influenced by bots”, remark Politico.
Significant impact on the platform
“The mass return of users who had been banned for offenses such as violent threats, harassment or misinformation, will have a significant impact on the platform”, judge The Washington Post.
The American daily wonders how this will be managed “resurrection”knowing that Musk did not define what he meant by “blatant spam” or how it intended to identify users with “broken the law” – a concept “varying wildly across countries and jurisdictions”.
Musk’s tweet doesn’t explain either “how Twitter will handle content moderation going forward, now that potentially problematic voices are back on the platform”, adds TechCrunch.
Elon Musk had promised, after the takeover of Twitter, the creation of a “diverse advice that would help adjudicate on important content moderation decisions”remember The Verge. But the billionaire returned to this promise on Tuesday, accusing “political activist groups” to have broken a so-called “OK” – “a claim that no one has been able to confirm”according to the website.
For CNN, “the decision to restore countless formerly banned accounts could further chill advertisers, many of whom have left the platform” after its takeover by Musk, “fearing that their ads will appear next to objectionable content”. Volkswagen, General Motors and General Mills are already no longer tweeting on Twitter.
But the main victim of Elon Musk’s decision could well be democracy itself, warns The Financial Times. By acquiring Twitter, “Musk’s ambition was to create a ‘common digital public square’. But public squares are also populated by thugs, criminals and propagandists who threaten the public good”writes the economic daily.
“Maximum freedom of expression is not always compatible with minimal democracy” and the “Social networks with poorly moderated content can have terrifying effects in the real world”adds the British title, which is worried about the “the most fragile democracies”.