Last month, Gizmodo considered who could be the worst people to get their Twitter accounts back under new CEO Elon Musk’s rule. Well, we guessed right with a few of those accounts already back on while other, completely unexpected accounts have also had their profiles reinstated.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Musk has completely upended content moderation at Twitter. In effect, Musk now controls all aspects of the Trust and Safety Team, which has previously worked to moderate Twitter content. The Post wrote that, according to anonymous sources close to the company, the team has become alienated. Musk is now looking to automate the team’s work, effectively eliminating all humans, save Musk himself, from the equation.
Considering who he’s been reinstating lately, that may be a very horrifying prospect. Even after the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs that targeted members of the LGBTQ community, Musk has not stopped bringing back accounts that have been part of the far-right’s anti-trans narrative.
Musk has set up a kind of “advisory council” for content moderation, but the new CEO seems to consider himself both judge and jury for any offending tweets. According to reports on an internal Q&A that took place late on Monday, Musk said “I will hear what [the council members] have to say and I will either agree with it or I won’t.”
Elon Musk is not listed as the arbiter of any of Twitter’s stated user policies, at least not yet, but despite Twitter’s policies remaining the same, the user experience has changed dramatically. In effect, Musk wants chaos to drive traffic (he regularly tweets about it as if new users means extra money for his increasingly ad-starved company), and with more previously banned accounts on offer, controversy seems to be Twitter’s new, quiet public policy.
Though much of the focus was on right-wing accounts, comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been suspended after trolling Musk on Twitter, also had her profile reactivated. It should be noted that profiles for the Babylon Bee and Jordan Peterson weren’t actually suspended, but were locked until the users agreed to remove tweets that violated the company’s user policy. Griffin, on the other hand, had her account suspended after she dared change her picture and profile name to poke fun at Musk, which the CEO called “impersonating.”
Gizmodo reached out to Twitter to learn if it had any public reasoning for these accounts being reinstated, but since the company’s press team is all but caput, we don’t expect to hear back. Since Musk seems to be taking the lead in determining which accounts belong on Twitter and which ones don’t, any of their past or present behavior reflects on the new company CEO first and foremost. Knowing just how bad some of these figures were, and continue to be, that’s not any kind of raving endorsement.