Twitter Inc. president and CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the company will offer a “blanket amnesty” to all suspended accounts on the platform that have not violated any laws. Taking to the bird app to reveal his intentions, the Twitter owner posted a poll asking for community consent on whether or not these accounts should be reinstated.
By the time the poll closed, exactly 3,162,112 people had voted, with 72.4 percent saying they wanted the accounts reinstated, while 27.6 percent said they did not support the motion.
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 evidently pitched his tent with the majority, tweeting afterward saying “The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” a Latin phrase that translates to “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
If Elon Musk follows through on his decision to reinstate banned Twitter accounts, the platform could welcome back the likes of former Trump adviser and former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon, who was banned when he said Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.
Elon Musk’s approach to managing hate speech trends has been questioned in many quarters, as many fear that the Twitter platform is now being colonized by extremist individuals. Musk’s new approach is even more assertive after he reinstated former President Donald Trump’s account and that of hip-hop star Ye (aka Kanye West) last week.
Uncertainty under Elon Musk’s Twitter: European leaders’ concern
Since taking control of Twitter, there’s been a lot of concern about how Elon Musk will run the company to ensure that it complies with the laws and compliance statutes the company signed up for before its acquisition. The fear is even greater among European Union regulators because the company has laid off its entire staff in the Brussels office.
The Brussels office was opened so that the company could maintain its relationship with the EU’s seat of power. According to a report in the Financial Times, the company’s last two public policy staff members left last week, effectively dismantling the outlet considered critical to the company’s operations in Europe.
The two employees, Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa, gave no indication of their departure, either through a tweet or a change of contact information on their LinkedIn profiles. However, Stephen Turner, Twitter’s former director of European public policy, announced his departure from the company last week, confirming that prior to his departure, 4 of the 6 employees working in Brussels had left the company.
The layoffs and lack of representation were seen as an attempt to pay leapfrog service to digital act compliance in the EU, a move that stakeholders say will change the status quo.
“I’m concerned about the news of so many Twitter staff being laid off in Europe“, EU vice president for misinformation code compliance told the FT. “If you want to detect and take effective action against disinformation and propaganda, that requires resources. Especially in the context of the Russian disinformation war, I expect Twitter to fully comply with EU law and honor its commitments. Twitter has been a very helpful partner in the fight against disinformation and illegal hate speech, and that must not change.“