New Twitter owner Elon Musk has announced that he will grant a "general amnesty" to suspended accounts on the social media platform, in a move which is likely to further divide those who are committed to protecting free speech on the internet and those who are in favour of curbing "harmful" discourse.
In an online poll conducted on Twitter, Musk asked: "Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?"
72% of the 3,162,112 respondents voted yes, while 28% voted no.
Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2022
Musk later tweeted: "The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week,", adding: "Vox Populi, Vox Dei", a Latin expression which roughly translates to "the voice of the people [is] the voice of God".
The people have spoken.Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
Musk's promise to offer a general amnesty follows his decision last week to reinstate former US President Donald Trump's account, who had been suspended from the platform following allegations that he had incited riots at the US Capital on 6 January, 2021. Trump, who is now an active user of Truth Social, a rival platform to Twitter which he co-founded after his account's suspension, later claimed that he didn't "see any reason" to return to the platform.
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Since purchasing Twitter, Musk – a self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist" – has also reinstated the accounts of several other controversial public figures including the psychologist Jordan Peterson, kickboxer Andrew Tate, and rapper Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).
Twitter has been engulfed in controversy ever since Musk's $44 billion acquisition of the platform last month. Among other things, the world's richest man has fired approximately half of Twitter's 7,500 staff (and then, in an unexplained reversal, asked several dozen to come back), introduced and then abruptly put on hold a new "blue-check" subscription service, temporarily closed Twitter's office headquarters in San Francisco and then, just last night, permanently closed the company's Brussels office.