NEW YORK (AP) — Elon Musk said Wednesday that Twitter will not allow anyone who has been kicked off the site to return until it puts in place procedures on how to do so, a process that will take at least a few weeks.
This would mean that people banned from the site for violating Twitter’s harassment, violence or election rules and COVID-related misinformation will not be able to return before the US midterm elections next Tuesday.
The pledge came after Musk, who took over the social media site last week after buying it for $44 billion, said in a tweet that he had met with a handful of company executives “on how Twitter will continue to address hate and harassment and enforce its election integrity policies.”
Those at the meeting on Tuesday asked Musk not to restore banned users until midterms, said Jessica González, a lawyer and co-CEO of advocacy group Free Press who attended the meeting.
Participants — including leaders from the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change — also called on Twitter to have a transparent process for how it plans to restore accounts. Musk has publicly said he would let former President Donald Trump return to the site, although Trump – who regularly touts his own Truth Social platform – has given no indication of his return.
González said attendees also called on Twitter to enforce election integrity measures already in place and encouraged it to hear from a wide range of people — especially racial minorities and those who have been targeted by campaigns. of hatred and harassment.
“He agreed to all of those things at our meeting, but actions speak louder than words,” González said. “I’ve had a lot of meetings with tech CEOs. And I’ve been given a lot of empty promises. And with Elon Musk in particular, he’s been inconsistent, saying one thing one day and another the next. So we fully intend to hold him accountable for those promises and more.
The NAACP, for its part, said in a statement that it raised concerns with Musk about “the dangerous and potentially deadly hatred and conspiracies that have proliferated on Twitter” under his watch. The organization cited a report of a spike in hate speech on Twitter in the hours following Musk’s acquisition, saying a failure to act “will put lives at risk and further destroy our democracy.” “. He also said any account that perpetuates election misinformation should not be allowed on the platform.
“As long as hate, misinformation and disinformation spreads on Twitter, the bird cannot be free,” the organization said. After taking over Twitter last week, Musk tweeted “the bird is released,” a reference to the site’s logo. In a separate letter to Musk on Tuesday, the NAACP, along with the National Urban League and the National Action Network, expressed alarm at the rise in racial and religious hatred on Twitter and accused the billionaire of unwittingly sparking ” the worst of humanity”. nature.”
Musk said last week that he wouldn’t make major decisions about content or restoring banned accounts until he set up a “content moderation council” with diverse views. He reiterated that point on Wednesday, adding that the council he is assembling will include “the civil rights community and groups dealing with hate-fueled violence.”
No group representing the LGBTQ community was present at Tuesday’s meeting, and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Musk planned to meet with one. Tesla’s billionaire CEO has said in the past that he supports transgender people, but criticized the use of different pronouns. In a tweet this summer referencing Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, who was banned from his account following a post about transgender actor Elliot Page that apparently violated Twitter rules, Musk said the platform form “went far too far in crushing dissenting opinions”.
A spokesperson for advocacy organization GLAAD said the group remains in communication with Twitter and plans to continue providing LGBTQ safety commentary and research on the site, as it does with all other platforms. foreground.
Twitter and other social media platforms have long been inundated with misinformation about voting and elections, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine. The platform is keeping its misinformation labels for the 2022 midterms and is trying to debunk misinformation tweets with links to credible information.
In part of Tuesday’s meeting, González said the group told Musk — who posted and deleted an article over the weekend containing misleading claims about the attack on the House Speaker’s husband. Nancy Pelosi – that he had to set the tone for what he expects. On the platform.
Some of the groups at the meeting were part of a coalition that sent an open letter to major Twitter advertisers on Tuesday, calling on them to commit to stopping advertising on the site if Twitter under Musk undermines community standards and undermines content moderation. In his own open letter to advertisers, Twitter’s main source of income, Musk said last week that he would not let the site become a “free hellscape for all” in his quest to promote freedom of speech. expression.
Meanwhile, David Cruz, national director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Sindy Benavides, who apparently represented the Hispanic civil rights organization at the meeting, was not a member of the organization. In an email, Cruz called Benavides “a thug, a respected former leader who decided to put himself above the organization that trusted him.”