Elon Musk has announced an “amnesty” for suspended Twitter accounts – prompting experts to predict an increase in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.
In the poll, the billionaire asked his followers to vote for the reinstatement of accounts that “do not break the law or engage in massive spam.”
The yes vote was 72%.
“The people have spoken. Amnesty starts next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Mr Musk tweeted, using a Latin phrase that translates as “voice of the people, voice of God”.
While welcomed by many, the apparent decision sparked an immediate flood of criticism.
Angelo Carusone, chairman and president of Media Matters, a liberal nonprofit advocacy group and media watchdog, said the move could see the return of the American Nazi Party and “a bunch of … conspiracy theorists engaged in persecution and abuse.” .
He said rolling back the suspensions would mean “turning Twitter into a one-stop shop for doxxing and operationalizing harassment and an engine of radicalization.”
“Even if you’re not on Twitter, you can still be a recipient of these campaigns,” he told the Washington Post.
Award-winning African journalist Hopewell Chin’ono tweeted: “This would be a huge disaster, especially in Africa where state-sponsored Ghost accounts have been suspended for endangering human rights activists and journalists.
“As a journalist, you would allow scumbags to put our lives in jeopardy! Your hands will be bloody @elonmusk.”
Michael Edison Hayden of the Southern Poverty Law Center said Mr. Musk was “bringing back white supremacy in a big way and he wants everyone to know about it.”
He listed a number of far-right and white supremacist figures, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, whose accounts he said would be reinstated as a result of the move.
Matt Navarra, a social media expert and former digital adviser to the UK government, said: “Elon Musk is opening all the doors in his Twitter prison. Things are about to get a little crazier.”
The Tesla and SpaceX chief used the same Latin phrase nearly two years after sending a similar request last weekend before restoring former President Donald Trump’s account.
Mr. Trump was permanently suspended Twitter After an attack by his supporters in January 2021 US Capitol caused the death of several people.
Twitter said after the riot that the decision was “due to the risk of further inciting violence”.
More than 15 million votes were cast, but the former president said at a rally on Saturday evening: “I see no reason. [returning to Twitter].”
Elon Musk’s Twitter staff purge could lead to “more” prominent racism directed at football players.
After the vote to overturn Donald Trump’s ban, the Twitter account is back
Kanye West also returned to the platform earlier this weekafter previously limiting his account after saying there would be “3 deaths IN THE JEWISH PEOPLE”.
In a post on Wednesday morning, Mr. Musk mocked detractors who criticized his methods.
“Wasn’t Twitter supposed to be dead by now or something?” he wrote, followed by “Maybe we’ve gone to heaven/hell and don’t know it.”
After Musk took over Twitter for $44 billion, many employees were either laid off by the company to cut costs or left voluntarily.
Business Insider reported Thursday that Musk fired “several dozen” more Twitter employees late Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving in the United States.
The layoffs are said to be a surprise to employees after Musk said at a meeting earlier this week that there would be no more layoffs at the company.