Musk says the general amnesty for suspended accounts will begin next week when the blue tick restarts

New Twitter owner Elon Musk said he’s granting “amnesty” to suspended accounts, which online security experts say will lead to a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The billionaire’s announcement came after he asked in a poll published on his Chronicle to vote on the reinstatement of accounts that had not “broke the law or engaged in egregious spam.”

The yes vote was 72pc.

“The people have spoken. The amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Mr Musk tweeted with a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”

Mr Musk used the same Latin phrase after releasing a similar poll last weekend, before reinstating former President Donald Trump’s account, which suspended Twitter for promoting the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Mr Trump has said he will not return to Twitter but has not deleted his account.

Such online surveys are far from scientific and can easily be influenced by bots.

In the month since Mr Musk took over Twitter, groups that monitor the platform for racist, anti-Semitic and other toxic language say it has been on the rise in the world’s de facto public square.

That includes a surge in racial slurs against World Cup soccer players, to which Twitter is reportedly not responding.

The rise in malicious content is due in large part to the mess that followed Mr Musk’s decision to lay off half of the company’s 7,500 employees, fire top executives, and then issue a series of ultimatums that added hundreds more caused to stop.

Also laid off were a untold number of contractors responsible for moderating content.

Among those who resigned over a lack of confidence in Mr Musk’s willingness to keep Twitter from turning into a mess of uncontrolled speech was Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth.

Large advertisers have also left the platform.

On Oct. 28, the day after he took control, Mr Musk tweeted that no suspended accounts would be restored until Twitter formed a mixed-view “Content Moderation Council” that would review the cases.

On Tuesday, he said he failed to keep that promise because he agreed at the urging of “a grand coalition of political-social activist groups” who later “broke the deal” by urging advertisers to stop, at least temporarily, Twitter to give up their business.

A day earlier, Twitter restored the personal account of far-right MP Marjorie Taylor Greene, which was suspended in January for violating the platform’s Covid misinformation guidelines.

However, he has said he will not reactivate the account of Alex Jones, who spread lies about the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Mr Musk, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly friendly with right-wing figures on Twitter. Ahead of this month’s US midterm elections, he urged “independent-minded” people to vote Republican.

Twitter has lost its last remaining staff at the Brussels regulatory center at a time when it faces increasing scrutiny from EU lawmakers.

The small office of six has been reduced to two in recent weeks following Musk’s dramatic downsizing. The remaining two members left the company last week after Musk urged employees to commit to a “hardcore work culture.”

The Brussels office has been a key hub for Twitter to grapple with a spate of European regulations, many of which have only recently come into force. The social media platform has long struggled with perceptions that it has failed to tackle hate speech and disinformation.

Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa, senior public policy managers and the last remaining staff at the Brussels office, left the office last week, said the people, who declined to comment on the record of staff departures.

Musk also said Twitter is expected to launch its Blue Check subscription and verified feature next Friday after the launch was delayed earlier this week.

The social media platform will use different color checks for organizations and individuals, Musk said.

“Gold check for corporations, gray check for governments, blue for individuals (celebrities or not). Painful but necessary,” Musk said in a tweet.

All verified accounts are manually authenticated before verification is enabled, Musk said.

The company had suspended its recently announced $8 blue check subscription service due to a mushrooming of fake accounts and had announced that the coveted blue check subscription service would be restarted on November 29.

The coveted blue tick was previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, celebrities, journalists and other public figures. Musk says the general amnesty for suspended accounts will begin next week when the blue tick restarts

Fry Electronics Team

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