Elon Musk polls Twitter about a general amnesty for suspended accounts

Musk polls followers about reinstating banned accounts, prompting concerns about toxic users returning to the platform.
John Loeffler
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Elon Musk Twitter

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Elon Musk’s interesting tenure as Twitter CEO has taken another turn this week after Musk posted a poll to his 118 million followers asking if suspended accounts on the social media platform should be given a general amnesty.

Specifically, Musk asked “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?”

As of the time of this writing, the poll has about an hour remaining, with 72.3 percent of respondents voting to restore the suspended accounts. Given that Musk used the same kind of poll earlier this week to reinstate the account of former US President Donald Trump — who had his account suspended after he allegedly incited an insurrection at the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021 following his election loss — the restoration of suspended accounts looks like a fait accompli at this point.

Not everybody is happy about the prospect, however. 

Others wondered if the restoration of suspended accounts was a ploy to boost Twitter’s active user numbers, though at this point, there have been no official reporting of user figures other than what Musk has posted on Twitter, and given that Twitter is now a private company, it does not have to make any independently-verified user figures public.

Some have also speculated that the restoration of suspended accounts could be a way to choke off competition from Trump’s own Truth Social social media platform.

Tumultuous times for Twitter likely to continue

Musk’s latest Twitter poll is just the latest twist in the shake-up of the popular social media platform. After laying off thousands of workers in the first couple of weeks of his tenure as CEO, Musk has implemented several important and consequential policy changes that have proved controversial.

The introduction of “Blue Check” verification badges for Twitter Blue subscribers led to some very high-profile impersonations, including accounts impersonating public companies like pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

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Many users took the opportunity to impersonate Elon Musk himself, leading to some notable suspensions like American comedian Kathy Griffin, who has since been reinstated but has not posted since November 6.

Musk has suspended the Twitter Blue verification scheme indefinitely in order to combat impersonators which might substantively affect Twitter’s ability to generate advertising revenue by further driving big advertisers off the platform entirely.

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