Elon Musk proposes ‘general amnesty’ to let suspended accounts back on Twitter

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has proposed a “general amnesty” for suspended accounts, allowing all of them to come back with a few restrictions.

He suggested that accounts that had not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam” would be allowed back on the platform, in what would be one of his biggest policy reversals to date.

Twitter has suspended a whole host of accounts for the violation of a range of its policies. Those include bans on hateful content, abuse, misinformation, extremism, threats of violence, violating privacy or copyright, and more.

Those accounts would all presumably be covered by Mr Musk’s amnesty for suspended accounts, and would likely come back to the platform as a result.

Mr Musk has already allowed a range of controversial accounts back online as part of what he said was “Freedom Friday”. He has reversed bans on the accounts of Donald Trump, Kathy Griffin and more – and said that Twitter would favour a policy that focused on freedom of speech but not freedom of reach, by limiting the visibility of problematic tweets.

But his latest tweet suggested those reversals could be much more widespread, allowing vast numbers of accounts that had previously been judged problematic to come back to the platform.

He offered the suggestion in a tweet that also included a poll. Minutes after posting it, it had received more than half a million responses, with some 75 per cent backing the amnesty.

There is no way of verifying how many of the accounts voting in such a poll are legitimate, or whether the number of accounts voting is in any related to how many actual people have backed the decision.

But Mr Musk has used polls to decide Twitter policy before. Earlier this week, Mr Musk posed the question of whether Donald Trump should be allowed back on the platform – and reversed the former president’s ban, after a very tight poll.

Mr Trump is still yet to use his newly restored account. Many of the other accounts that have been revived – including those of Jordan Peterson and the Babylon Bee, both banned for transphobic remarks – have been tweeting intensively since they were allowed back online.