Over the years, Twitter has suspended a colossal number of accounts, for multiple reasons — spam, misinformation, impersonation, etc. Elon Musk, the owner of the social network, is considering lifting all bans during a general amnesty.
Elon Musk continues to rule Twitter with polls. After asking the public if they want Donald Trump back, the new boss of the social network once again questioned his community. On November 23, 2022, Elon Musk asked a new question, this time about the fate of accounts banned from Twitter.
” Should Twitter offer a blanket amnesty to suspended accounts, provided they haven’t broken the law or engaged in blatant spam? », is the question of the moment for the American entrepreneur. The poll, launched on November 23, ends on November 24. As it stands, the difference in votes leaves little doubt as to the result: the “yes” wins with more than 72% of the votes.
Which Twitter accounts will return?
Therefore, it therefore seems very likely that the amnesty desired by Elon Musk will indeed take place. If we stick to what happened for Donald Trump, the accounts of those excluded from the social network would return to Twitter on November 25.
As for knowing which accounts to return to, the criteria are currently unclear: on what basis is Elon Musk based to decide? US and European laws differ greatly, and what is not considered a violation of the law in one country may be in another.
Numerama sought to know what would be the list of the main accounts, French and international, which could benefit from this leniency. This is not to say that all accounts that will reappear are dangerous. Some have been removed for copyright infringement, or for unclear reasons. But there’s no denying that others have been for good reason — their return wouldn’t be a good sign for the harassment and violence on the platform.
Anti-vaccine and far-right accounts
In France, we can already note a notable category bringing together anti-vaccine personalities or promoting conspiracy theories on the coronavirus. Several influential accounts were banned in 2020 and 2021, at the height of the pandemic and during the launch of the vaccine campaign.
One thinks in particular of Silvano Trotta, one of the most popular anti-vaccine influencers and since become a reference of French conspiracy. His Telegram channel has more than 161,000 subscribers. Other similar accounts were deleted from Twitter in 2021, such as @Le_General_Off (over 60,000 subscribers) and @L_infirmier_ (55,000 subscribers).
Another notable case: Francis Lalanne. The singer, who has since become a key figure in the anti-vaccination movement and being the spokesperson for conspiratorial speeches, attacked Numerama in 2021, after the publication of an article denouncing fake transphobic news on Brigitte Macron . His account had been deleted shortly after his invectives.
Former MP Joachim Son-Forget, whose account was suspended after posing as Donald Trump, could also benefit from this grace, like Rivarol, a far-right weekly. He was banned in 2019 after several papers “ calling for racial hatred and the apology of crimes against humanity », notes Ouest-France.
Internationally, many accounts are affected. By January 2021, Twitter had removed more than 70,000 accounts linked to QAnon, a conspiracy theory that US Democrats are cannibal Satanists. Members of QAnon participated in the storming of the Washington Capitol on January 6, 2021. Milo Yiannopoulos, a highly controversial figure and far-right polemicist suspended in 2016 for harassing and insulting an actress, may also be making a comeback.
We can add to the list David Duke, the former leader of the racist organization of the Ku Klux Klan, suspended in 2020, or even Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump banned for having called for the beheading of an expert. health during a podcast.
Going up the long Wikipedia list dedicated to the subject of banned accounts, we quickly realize that most were banned for obvious reasons, provided for by Twitter’s community rules: calls for hatred, racism, violence, etc. .
Certainly not all will be restored: the terrorist groups will not find their account, and Elon Musk has confirmed that the American conspirator Alex Jones will remain persona non grata. But many people, although not having been convicted in court, carry speech in violation of the rules of the platform. They could still come back. Therefore, the “ amnesty by Elon Musk risks leading to a massive return of contentious content on the platform, even dangerous, nullifying a policy of moderation of several years.