Last month, Gizmodo pondered who might be the worst people to recover their Twitter accounts under new CEO Elon Musk’s rule. Well, we guessed right with a few of those accounts already back while other completely unexpected accounts also had their profiles reinstated.
Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Musk completely overturned content moderation on Twitter. Indeed, Musk now controls all aspects of the trust and safety team, which previously worked to moderate Twitter content. The Post wrote that, according to unnamed sources close to the company, the team has become alienated. Musk is now looking to automate the work of the team, effectively eliminating all humans except Musk himself from the equation.
Considering who he’s re-entered recently, that can be a very gruesome prospect. Even after the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs that targeted members of the LGBTQ community, Musk kept bringing up accounts that were part of the far-right anti-trans narrative.
Musk has set up something of an “advisory board” for content moderation, but the new CEO seems to consider himself judge and jury for any offensive tweets. According reports on an internal question-and-answer session that took place late Monday, Musk said “I will hear what [the council members] say and I’ll either be okay with it or I won’t.
Elon Musk is not listed as a referee on any of the Twitters stated usage policies, at least not yet, but while Twitter’s policies remain the same, the user experience has changed dramatically. Indeed, Musk wants chaos to drive traffic (he tweet regularly about it like new users mean extra money for him more and more company lacking publicity), and with more previously banned accounts on offer, the controversy seems to be Twitter’s new quiet public policy.
Although much of the focus was on right-wing accounts, comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been suspended after trolling Musk on Twitter, also reactivated his profile. It’s worth noting that Babylon Bee and Jordan Peterson’s profiles weren’t actually suspended, but were locked until users agreed to remove tweets that violated the company’s usage policy. Griffin, on the other hand, had his account suspended after he dared to change his profile photo and name to mock Musk, which the CEO called a “copycat”.
Gizmodo has reached out to Twitter to find out if it has a public reason to reinstate these accounts, but as the company’s press team is nearly shut down, we don’t expect a response. Since Musk appears to be taking the lead in determining which accounts belong to Twitter and which do not, any past or present behavior reflects first and foremost on the company’s new CEO. Knowing how bad some of those numbers were and continue to be, that’s not some kind of delusional endorsement.