A week after reversing former US President Donald Trump’s lifetime ban from the platform, Twitter boss Elon Musk has announced extending the general amnesty to an unspecified number of suspended users after he posted a poll over whether Twitter should restore affected accounts.
Musk made the announcement in a tweet on Thanksgiving Day, saying that the people have spoken and adding to it the Latin phrase ‘Vox Populi, Vox Dei’ – meaning the voice of the people is the voice of God.
He also announced in a separate message that the vast numbers of Twitter handles that had previously been taken by bots and trolls will soon be freed and offered up for grabs.
A little more than 3,1 million Twitter users had participated in the poll the SpaceX and Tesla CEO launched on Wednesday, asking if he should grant a general amnesty to suspended accounts that have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.
As of Thursday afternoon, just under three-quarters (72.4%) of Twitter users who took part voted in favor of the amnesty and 27.6% voted ‘no’. Now it remains to be seen how many users would be eligible for amnesty.
Musk has run a similar poll – also using the ‘Vox Populi, Vox Dei’ phrase – before reinstating Donald Trump’s Twitter account which was suspended on the platform after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, but the former president refused to return to the platform.
The latest announcement, however, has raised concerns over the potential influence of the suspended accounts’ return on the content moderation on the platform, especially after the registered surge in racist, antisemitic, and homophobic tweets on the platform following Elon Musk’s takeover of the company.
Despite the growing criticism he has faced for laying off hundreds of Twitter employees and reversing the permanent suspensions of multiple notable accounts, Musk has rejected accusations that he’s some kind of right-wing bogeyman whose actions fuel hate speech, harassment, and misinformation, insisting that, under his ownership, Twitter has not banned any leftists, even for utter lies.