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Elon Musk floats general amnesty of suspended Twitter accounts

New Twitter owner Elon Musk polled users on whether the site should offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, using the same method he used to handle the case of Donald Trump.

The move comes as Musk has faced pushback that his criteria for content moderation is subject to his personal whim, with reinstatements decided for certain accounts and not others.

“Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” Musk asked in a tweet. The poll was open until Thursday afternoon and mimicked the strategy used just days ago for former US president Trump. Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated after a narrow majority of respondents supported the move.

Polls on Twitter are open to all users and are unscientific and potentially targeted by fake accounts and bots. A blanket decision on suspended accounts could potentially alarm government authorities that are keeping a close look at Musk’s handling of hateful speech since he bought the influential platform for $44-billion.

It could also spook Apple and Google, tech titans that have the power to ban Twitter from their mobile app stores over content concerns.

Musk, who closed his buyout of Twitter in late October, did not make clear whether the bans to be covered by the poll were permanent suspensions or temporary ones. The future of content moderation on Twitter has become an urgent concern, with major advertisers keeping away from the site after a failed relaunch earlier this month saw a proliferation of fake accounts, causing embarrassment.

Meanwhile, the teams in charge of keeping nefarious activity off the site have been gutted, victims of Musk-led layoffs that saw half of total employees leave the company.

John Wihbey, a media professor at Northeastern University, speculated that all the chaos might be because Musk is seeking to “buy himself time. Regulators are certainly going to get come after him, both in Europe and maybe the United States… and therefore a lot of what he’s doing is trying to frame those fights,” Wihbey said.

Source: eNCA

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