‘The people have spoken’: Musk lifts Twitter ban on Donald Trump
Musk’s announcement on Saturday is an apparent shift in direction. In early November, Musk said that “Twitter will not allow anyone who has been removed from the platform for breaking Twitter’s rules until we have a clear process to do so, which will take at least a few weeks. what’s more.” He had also spoken about the creation of a council of advisory groups to help make decisions on content moderation and user bans.
Instead of a tip, Musk apparently opted for a Twitter poll.
Musk has opposed so-called “permabans”, calling Trump’s pullout “morally wrong” in the months before buying the platform for $44 billion. The Tesla CEO had promised a freer approach to moderation on Twitter – calling himself a “free speech absolutist” in the past – and Saturday’s reinstatement would appear to fulfill that pledge and continue a shift in attitude. significant leadership within the company.
Civil rights groups and internet watchdogs have warned that Musk will usher in a new era of hate speech on the platform with his more hands-off approach.
On Saturday, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said if “Elon Musk continues to run Twitter like this, using rotten polls that don’t represent the American people and the needs of our democracy, God help us all.” Johnson also said advertisers should immediately stop working with Twitter.
Several major advertisers have already cut off their relationships with the platform, a trend that accelerated after Musk himself tweeted a false story about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband just days after he took over the platform. ‘company.
For years, Twitter has struggled with content moderation and whether people who violate the site’s rules and terms of service should be banned or otherwise reprimanded. The conservatives argued that the platform unfairly targets their content, while the liberals demanded the company do more to censor posts and users they believe are spreading misinformation and hate speech.
Twitter eventually banned Trump after he violated the platform’s rules against inciting violence following his comments about the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising at the U.S. Capitol. In previous months, Twitter had labeled and removed numerous Trump posts that violated the platforms’ rules.
Trump’s reinstatement caps another incredibly turbulent week for Twitter. The platform is operating with a reduced staff, after Musk laid off half the staff just days after buying the company, then hundreds more quit this week following an ultimatum from Musk that staff agree to adopt “hardcore” working practices or resign. It seems many have chosen to head into releases rather than work for Musk, and site users predicted it wouldn’t last much longer, while spending the weekend praising the platform.
It’s unclear whether Trump’s reinstatement by Twitter will influence how Facebook and other social media platforms decide how to handle the former president’s accounts, which were also suspended after the Jan. 6 uprising. Facebook said it would decide to reinstate Trump’s account in January 2023, while YouTube said it was suspended indefinitely until the risk of violence posed by Trump subsided.