Twitter polls are available to all users, unreliable, and could be manipulated by bots and phony accounts. Elon Musk, the newly appointed owner of Twitter, used the same approach he employed to resolve the Donald Trump issue to ask users on Wednesday if the platform should grant all suspended accounts a blanket amnesty.
The move comes in response to criticism that Musk’s standards for content moderation are arbitrary, with reinstatements made for certain accounts but not others.
Should Twitter grant all suspended accounts a blanket pardon so long as they haven’t breached the law or sent out excessive amounts of spam? Musk tweeted a question.
The vote, which duplicated the approach taken just a few days ago for former US president Trump, was open until 17:46 GMT (11:16 IST) on Thursday.
Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated on Saturday after the decision was backed by a slim majority of responders. Twitter polls are available to all users, unreliable due to fake accounts and bots, and unscientific.
Taking a broad stance on suspended accounts could worry government regulators that have been closely monitoring Musk’s handling of hate speech since he paid the influential platform for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,59,460 crore).
It might also worry tech giants Apple and Google, who have the authority to remove Twitter from their mobile app stores due to content issues. Trump’s involvement in the mob of his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to change the result of the 2020 election resulted in his removal from the platform at the start of last year.
On the reinstatement of other banned accounts, including a conservative parody website and a psychologist who had broken Twitter’s guidelines about terminology identifying transgender individuals, Musk also reinstated Trump.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones won’t be coming back to Twitter and will continue to be blocked, according to the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Due to his own experience with the loss of his own child, Musk stated on Sunday that he had “no pity for anyone who would use the deaths of children for money, politics, or fame.”
For his misrepresentations regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which resulted in the deaths of 26, mostly children, Jones has indeed been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
The bans that would be covered by the ballot were not explicitly stated by Musk, who completed his acquisition of Twitter by late October.
After a botched relaunch earlier in the month that resulted in a proliferation of false accounts and caused embarrassment, and future of content moderation on Twitter has become an urgent worry, with large advertisers staying away from the platform.
The teams in charge of preventing criminal activity from occurring on the site have been completely decimated as a result of Musk-led layoffs that caused half of the company’s workforce to leave.
“Regulators have been certainly going to be coming after him, in both Europe and maybe the United States… and therefore a lot of what he is doing is trying to frame those fights,” said John Wihbey, a media professor at Northeastern University, who hypothesized that the reason for all the commotion is that Musk is trying to “buy himself time.”