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Elon Musk has countered speculation that he would immediately reinstate all permanently banned accounts — such as former President Donald Trump’s — and make sweeping content policy changes now that Twitter is firmly under his control.
In a tweet shared on Friday, Musk said Twitter will form a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints” before making any policy changes.
“No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” Musk wrote. He did not share additional details on who would be on the council or when the council was expected to convene.
It is also not immediately clear how Musk’s vision for the council will differ from Twitter’s existing trust and safety council, which formed in 2016 and is comprised of independent expert organizations. The council includes specific advisory groups for topics like online safety and harassment, human and digital rights, suicide prevention and mental health, child sexual exploitation and dehumanization. Participating organizations include GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Human Rights Foundation and the Trevor Project, among many others, according to Twitter.
Outside of the council, Twitter also has platform rules around safety, privacy and authenticity that, if violated, may result in the temporary or permanent suspensions of a user’s account, depending on each case. Less severe consequences against violators have included adding labels to tweets with misleading information or requiring a tweet to be taken down, as was the case with Kanye “Ye” West’s recent antisemitic tweet.
Musk’s vision for Twitter has morphed over time since he first made a bid to acquire the social platform earlier this year. During his first interview about the matter on April 14, the Tesla CEO said he wanted to
“open source the algorithm” and that he believed it was “really important that people have the reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law” on the platform.
The following month, Musk said Twitter’s decision to permanently ban Trump from the platform was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.” The mercurial executive said he didn’t believe Twitter should enact permanent bans and, instead, should stick with temporary suspensions.
But as of this past Thursday, Musk offered another perspective in an open letter to advertisers that appeared to be an attempt to assuage concerns about his pending “free speech”–oriented changes to the platform. “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences! In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preference, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature,” the message said.
The Tesla CEO completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter on Thursday and swiftly fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, according to The Washington Post and Bloomberg.
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