New Twitter boss Elon Musk announced Thursday that he would reinstate suspended accounts on the platform next week if they have not broken the law, thus returning to reassuring remarks during his takeover. To the question, published on Wednesday in the form of a poll on its account, whether Twitter should offer a “general amnesty to suspended accounts provided they have not broken the law or sent spam in an outrageous way”, 72, 4% of the approximately 3.16 million people said “yes”.
“The people have spoken, the amnesty begins next week,” he tweeted on Thursday, a holiday in the United States for the feast of Thanksgiving, accompanying his publication of the message “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (“La voice of the people is the voice of God”). It is with this same expression that he had, on Saturday, rehabilitated the account of former American President Donald Trump, banned from the social network after the assault on the Capitol in Washington in January 2021.
The people have spoken.
Amnesty begins next week.
Vox Populi vox dei.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
Brands suspend ad spending on Twitter
The leader of Tesla and SpaceX had taken this decision following a similar consultation on the blue bird network, a method of uncertain representativeness. A narrow majority (51.8%) of the 15 million voters had expressed themselves in favor of a return of the Republican billionaire, who has not tweeted since the restoration of his account.
Elon Musk has repeatedly explained that he bought Twitter because he considers the platform the “digital public square” essential to democracy in the world. The richest man in the world considers the moderation of content too restrictive, but his absolutist vision of freedom of expression raises fears of a surge of abuse (misinformation, hate speech) on the social network. Many brands including Volkswagen, General Motors and General Mills have already suspended ad spending on Twitter, which is 90% dependent on it for revenue.
Alex Jones’ account remains suspended
Elon Musk has nevertheless indicated that he will not reinstate the account of far-right American conspirator Alex Jones, who has been sued for several years by parents of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton (Connecticut) for claiming that the massacre was just a staged show by opponents of guns. Having experienced the death of his first child, he explained to be “without mercy vis-à-vis anyone who uses the deaths of children for (gain) financial, political or fame gains”.