Those banned from Twitter won't be allowed to return for weeks: Musk
Those banned from Twitter will not be allowed to return to the social media platform until it sets up procedures on how to do that, Elon Musk said on Wednesday. The process will take at least a few weeks, the new Twitter chief said.
According to Musk's tweet, those banned from the microblogging site for violating Twitter's rules for harassment, violence, or election and COVID-related misinformation will not be able to return before next Tuesday's US midterm elections.
The development comes after Musk, who took control of the social media site last week after buying it for USD 44 billion, said in a tweet that he had met with a handful of civil-society leaders “about how Twitter will continue to combat hate and harassment and enforce its election integrity policies."
Those attending the meeting on Tuesday asked Musk not to restore the banned users ahead of the midterms, said Jessica González, an attorney and co-CEO of the advocacy group Free Press who attended the meeting.
The attendees — including leaders from the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change — also requested Twitter have a transparent process on how it plans to restore accounts.
Musk has publicly said that he would let former President Donald Trump back on the site, though Trump — who routinely touts his own platform Truth Social — has given no indication as to whether he will return.
González said the attendees also requested Twitter enforce election-integrity measures that are already in place, and encouraged him to hear from a diverse array of people — particularly racial minorities and those who've been targeted by hate and harassment campaigns.
“He agreed to all of those things in our meeting, but actions speak louder than words,” González said.
“I've had a lot of meetings with tech CEOs. And I've been made a lot of empty promises. And with Elon Musk in particular, he's shown himself to be inconsistent, saying one thing one day and another thing the next. So we fully intend to hold him accountable to these promises and more.”
The NAACP, for its part, said in a statement that it expressed to Musk its concerns about “the dangerous, life-threatening hate and conspiracies that have proliferated on Twitter” under his watch.
The organisation cited a report about a spike in hate speech on Twitter in the hours following the Musk acquisition, saying a failure to take action will “put human lives at risk and further unravel our democracy.”
It also said any account that perpetuates misinformation about elections should not be allowed on the platform.
“As long as hate, misinformation, and disinformation spread across Twitter, the bird cannot be free,” the organization said.
After taking over Twitter last week, Musk tweeted “the bird is freed,” a reference to the site's logo.
In a separate letter to Musk on Tuesday, the NAACP, along with the National Urban League and the National Action Network, said they were alarmed by the rise of racial and religious hatred on Twitter and accused the billionaire of unwittingly unleashing “the worst of human nature."
Musk said last week he won't make major decisions about the content or restoring banned accounts before setting up a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints.
He reiterated that point on Wednesday, adding the council he's assembling will include “the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence.”
No group representing the LGBTQ community was present during Tuesday's meeting and Twitter did not immediately reply to a request for comment on whether Musk plans to meet with one.
The billionaire Tesla CEO has said in the past that he supports transgender people, but has criticised the use of different pronouns. In a tweet this summer referring to Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, who was locked out of his account following a post about transgender actor Elliot Page that seemingly violated Twitter's rules, Musk said the platform was “going way too far in squashing dissenting opinions”.
(With inputs from PTI)
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