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Monday, February 26, 2024

No change to Twitter moderation policy yet

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Billionaire Elon Musk has said there will be no changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies for now after completing his $44 billion takeover of the platform.

“To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies,” the BBC quoted him as saying in a tweet.

Earlier he announced the creation of a new council to moderate posts.

He also tweeted that “anyone suspended for minor and dubious reasons” would be “freed from Twitter jail”.

“Comedy is now legal on Twitter,” he said.

Senior figures at Twitter have announced their exits since Musk took over after long delays to the deal, the BBC said.

The potential changes have drawn scrutiny from regulators and divided Twitter’s own users, some of whom are worried that Musk will loosen regulations governing hate speech and misinformation, and some of whom feel the previous management curtailed free speech with overly rigorous rules.

Musk said Twitter would be forming a council with “widely diverse viewpoints”.

“No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” he said, shortly before confirming that Twitter had ended artist Kanye West’s suspension from the platform before his acquisition.

Rapper Kanye West, known as Ye, had been suspended from the platform for anti-Semitic comments.

Finance chief Ned Segal was among the senior leaders to announce his exit from the company after Musk’s takeover.

Chairman of the board Bret Taylor has also left and it was widely reported that Twitter’s chief executive Parag Agrawal — a target of Musk’s criticism — was among the people fired, although Agrawal still has “ceo @twitter” on his Twitter profile.

General Motors — the largest US carmaker and a rival to Musk’s Tesla — says it has temporarily halted paid advertising on Twitter. GM said it was “engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership”.

Musk has signalled he wants widespread change at Twitter. A self-styled “free speech absolutist”, he has said he sees the platform as a forum for public debate and is willing to reverse bans on controversial users, including former US President Donald Trump.

In Europe, the commissioner in charge of overseeing the EU’s digital market, Thierry Breton, tweeted: “In Europe, the bird will fly by our EU rules” – suggesting regulators will take a tough stance against any relaxation of Twitter’s policies.

In the US, Stop the Deal, a coalition of left-wing activist groups including Fair Vote UK and Media Matters for America, said Musk had a “thirst for chaos” and his potential plans would make Twitter “an even more hate-filled cesspool, leading to irreparable real-world harm”.

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