Elon Musk has announced a general amnesty for suspended Twitter accounts in a move that brought a warning that superspreaders of hate will return to the social media platform.
A blockade of blocked users will begin next week, after a majority of votes in a poll on his account backed the move. Some accounts suspended on Twitter include Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon, rightwing UK commentator Katie Hopkins and David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.
Musk had launched a poll on Wednesday asking if there should be a general amnesty offered to accounts if they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam. Musk did not specify which laws he meant. More than 3.1 m votes were recorded by the poll, with 72% in favor of an amnesty.
Musk tweeted: The people have spoken. Amnesty starts next week. He added Vox Populi, Vox Dei, a Latin phrase that means the voice of the people is the voice of God. Musk reopened Trump's account as well as accounts for Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate whose extreme misogynistic views led to a Twitter ban in 2017 and the unlocking of the account for US rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West, who was sanctioned last month for posting antisemitic comments.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a campaign group, said superspreaders of hateful content would benefit from the move and that advertisers should stop funding on the platform.
Superspreaders of hate, abuse and harassment will be the only people to benefit from this latest decision by Twitter, said Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH. The choice for advertisers has never been more important, stick around and back Elon Musk, or protect their brands and make sure their marketing dollars aren't used to spread hate, abuse and disinformation. Angelo Carusone, president of the US campaign group Media Matters, said he had no mercy for people who capitalise on the deaths of children for personal fame, despite the false claims that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax. Other banned Twitter accounts include the rightwing writer Milo Yiannopoulos and former BBC presenter David Icke.
After a newly announced content moderation council met, Musk had previously said there would be no account reinstatements. Human rights groups broke the deal by urging advertisers to stop spending on the platform, according to the Tesla CEO.