On 18th November 2022, newfound Twitter CEO, Elon Musk, unbanned multiple controversial figures, including Kathy Griffin, Dr. Jordan Peterson, Babylon Bee, and Andrew Tate. The following day, Elon Musk also reinstated former U.S. President Donald Trump after hosting a poll that received over 15 million votes and 134 million views, ultimately determining Trump's fate.
According to Elon Musk, the "Vox Populi, Vox Dei" poll, which translates to "the voice of the people is the voice of God" in Latin, was made to enable "freedom of speech" and make the platform "for the people," essentially giving the masses partial power to determine Twitter's growth, decisions, and direction. This included whether or not the former U.S. president would have his Twitter account reinstated.
Reinstate former President Trump— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
That said, after 15 million votes, with 51.8% of those supporting the unbanning of the U.S. President, Donald Trump was unbanned on Twitter on 19th November 2022. This news made waves worldwide and split Twitter apart, dividing those with disparate political views.
In addition, Andrew Tate, an influencer who's been repeatedly criticized online for his "sexist" and "misogynistic" opinions, has also stirred up the pot after being unbanned yesterday as well. Both accounts, initially permanently suspended, have been unbanned, but that doesn't mean Elon Musk will allow any negative or hateful Tweets on the platform.
According to the Twitter CEO, the "new Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach." Musk added, "Negative and hateful Tweets will be max deboosted and demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the Tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from the rest of the internet."
Note, this applies just to the individual tweet, not the whole account— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
This new Twitter policy means Andrew Tate and Donald Trump, if they ever decide to post hateful or negative content, will have it "deboosted and demonetized." Although Elon Musk didn't state any rules involving the temporary or permanent suspension of accounts, it's safe to assume Twitter's former guidelines on harmful content remain.
That said, the world can only hope that these now-reinstated controversial individuals use their public power and voice on the platform for positive means. Twitter is shaping itself into something most have yet to discover, but whether that transformation looks good or bad depends on the decisions Elon Musk (and, more importantly) the people make.
The people have spoken.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
Trump will be reinstated.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei. https://t.co/jmkhFuyfkv
Only time will tell if Twitter continues reinstating more people and if these unbans positively affect the platform moving forward.
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Featured image courtesy of Instagram / Donald Trump and Twitter / Elon Musk.