It seems that Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk is starting to make good on his promise to restore free speech to Twitter.
In a tweet Friday, Musk announced that three high-profile members whose accounts had been suspended have now been reinstated: Kathie Griffin, Jordan Peterson and the satirical site the Babylon Bee.
In the same tweet, however, Musk indicated that a decision on whether to restore the suspended account of former President Donald Trump “has not yet been made.”
Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated.
Trump decision has not yet been made.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
While it is good to see some wrongfully suspended accounts restored, Musk’s tweet indicates that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to fully restore freedom of speech on the platform. Trump is not the only one who has been wrongly suspended — there are several other accounts that also need to be restored.
Reverse all permanent bans for lawful speech
Bring back Project Veritas
Bring back James O’Keefe
Bring back Donald Trump
Bring back Steve Bannon
Bring back Marjorie Taylor Greene
Bring back Carpe Donktum
Bring back @ALX
Bring them all back.pic.twitter.com/UmwxPMWWkf
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 18, 2022
On Nov. 3, the Wall Street Journal published a piece listing the highest-profile names still suspended from the platform. In addition to Trump, Twitter has also suspended other prominent conservative accounts, including those of My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Project Veritas head James O’Keefe and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
Lindell, a prominent Trump ally, had his account suspended in February 2021 after he alleged misconduct in the 2020 election. His account was reinstated in 2022, but then swiftly banned again.
Greene had her personal account suspended in January of this year for allegedly spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19 on the platform.
O’Keefe had his account suspended after the group published a series of videos exposing CNN.
Bannon, according to the Wall Street Journal, had his account suspended after he suggested Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wrey should be beheaded.
Another prominent figure banned from the platform is former major league baseball player Aubrey Huff. Huff has been an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and, according to the Wall Street Journal piece, he was also banned for spreading so-called COVID “misinformation”
But it is not just conservatives and Trump supporters who saw their accounts banned or suspended under Twitter’s previous management. The Journal also noted that prominent bans include former Cuban President Raul Castro and rapper Azealia Banks.
Since taking over Twitter in October, Elon Musk has implemented a number of changes that have caused quite a stir at the company.
One of these was to crack down on fake accounts and demand that parody accounts clearly state that in their bios, or face a ban.
Another was charging users $8 a month to keep their verified status on the platform.
Musk also purged the company’s workforce with mass layoffs. He sent an ultimatum to employees this week, asking them to commit to working long hours at high intensity, causing many to leave the company in protest.
Now there are signs that Musk is beginning to take the step that many people hoped he would take: restoring free speech on Twitter by reinstating all banned accounts.
Free speech is a vital part of our civic life and is expressly protected in the Constitution. But over the last few years, freedom of speech has come under assault as those who control the flow of information on the internet have silenced voices they disagree with.
Musk came to Twitter promising to make it a haven of free speech once again. While these early decisions are promising, there is still a long way to go in order to fully restore freedom of speech online.
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