Elon Musk began restoring Twitter accounts that had been banned for life, fulfilling his promise to a lighter moderation policy on the platform. Friday’s announcement revealed that the first affected accounts were Kathy Griffin, author Jordan Peterson, and conservative parody outlet The Babylon Bee.
Two of the accounts were banned for tweets that misgender trans people. Peterson was expelled in July after tweets misgendering Elliot Page, a trans actor. He stated that he would rather die than delete. The Babylon Bee was suspended in March after similar tweets misgendering Rachel Levine (a trans woman currently serving the US as assistant secretary of Health).
Notably, The Babylon Bee is one of the outlets mentioned by Musks in his text messages. These were released as part of a court case.
As part of Musk’s campaign against impersonation, the third account, which belonged to Kathy Griffin, was blocked just 11 days before. Griffin impersonated Musk in a tweet about midterm elections. Musk stated that Griffin could return to the platform if she paid $8 for Twitter Blue.
It is still being determined if there will be more reinstatements, especially for Trump’s still-suspended ex-President. Trump recently began his campaign to regain power. Musk stated that Trump’s ban had not been decided.
Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated.
Trump decision has not yet been made.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
Musk claimed previously that no major moderation decisions (including reinstatements) would be made until he created a content moderation committee with “widely varied viewpoints.” However, he did not mention it in today’s announcement.
These reinstatements are coming at a time of crisis for the platform, which has had hundreds of employees leave following an ultimatum from Musk earlier this week. As a result, the platform’s total workforce has been reduced from 7,500 before the Musk acquisition to less than 3,000 by Thursday’s deadline.
There has been much chaos at the company as a result. Musk closed the office on Thursday and sent an email to all software engineers stating, “Anyone who writes software, please report to 10th floor at noon today.”