‘Opening the gates of hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts

  
Via:  John Russell  •  2 months ago  •  42 comments


‘Opening the gates of hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts
“What Musk is doing is existentially dangerous for various marginalized communities. It’s like opening the gates of hell in terms of the havoc it will cause. People who engaged in direct targeted harassment can come back and engage in doxing, targeted harassment, vicious bullying, calls for violence, celebration of violence. I can’t even begin to state how dangerous this will be.”

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www.washingtonpost.com   /technology/2022/11/24/twitter-musk-reverses-suspensions/

‘Opening the gates of hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts


Taylor Lorenz 8-10 minutes   11/24/2022






Elon Musk plans to reinstate nearly all previously banned Twitter accounts — to the alarm of activists and online trust and safety experts.

After posting a Twitter poll asking, “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” in which 72.4 percent of the respondents voted yes, Musk declared, “Amnesty begins next week.”


The Twitter CEO did not respond Thursday to a request for comment from The Washington Post. The poll garnered more than 3 million votes.

The mass return of users who had been banned for such offenses as violent threats, harassment and misinformation will have a significant impact on the platform, experts said. And many questioned how such a resurrection would be handled, given that it’s unclear what Musk means by “egregious spam” and the difficulty of separating out users who have “broken the law,” which vary widely by jurisdiction and country.


Since taking over Twitter, CEO Elon Musk has laid off thousands, many tasked with maintaining crucial services. Former staff worry the site may collapse. (Video: Jonathan Baran/The Washington Post)


“Apple and Google need to seriously start exploring booting Twitter off the app store,” said Alejandra Caraballo, clinical instructor at Harvard Law’s cyberlaw clinic. “What Musk is doing is existentially dangerous for various marginalized communities. It’s like opening the gates of hell in terms of the havoc it will cause. People who engaged in direct targeted harassment can come back and engage in doxing, targeted harassment, vicious bullying, calls for violence, celebration of violence. I can’t even begin to state how dangerous this will be.”

This is the second time in a week that Musk has used a Twitter poll to seemingly make a major decision related to the platform. On Nov. 18, he restored former president Donald Trump’s account after 52 percent of a poll’s respondents said he should do so.   “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

On that day, he also unilaterally   reinstated at least 11   high-profile far-right Twitter accounts, including Jordan Peterson, a professor who was banned from Twitter for misgendering a trans person, and the Babylon Bee, a conservative media company. He also restored   Project Veritas, a site that was frequently accused of misrepresenting events it commented on and banned “for repeated violations of Twitter’s private information policy,” and   Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account,   which had been banned   since January for violating the platform’s covid-19 misinformation policies and pushing violent and extreme rhetoric.

Experts say that bots and bad actors can easily skew the results of a Twitter poll, and so basing decisions on one is irresponsible. “A Twitter poll can be manipulated, there’s nothing scientific or rigorous in any way about what he’s doing,” said Sarah T. Roberts, an associate professor at UCLA and faculty director for UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, who previously worked at Twitter researching content moderation processes.

“Before Elon took over,” Roberts added, “there were entire teams of people who did market and user research, who followed rigorous protocols established to conduct this kind of research. Suddenly, he’s running Twitter off of completely unscientific polls that are polling unknown people, and certainly not any kind of demographically representative swath of people.”

Many predict the restoration of banned accounts will help bring on the “free-for-all hellscape” that Musk had promised advertisers would not come to pass shortly after he took possession of the platform.

“This would be a major disaster especially in Africa where State sponsored Ghost accounts were suspended for endangering human rights activists & journalists,”   Hopewell Chin’ono , a journalist in Africa tweeted. “You would have allowed vile people to put our lives in danger as journalists! You will have blood on your hands @elonmusk.”

Whether Musk can do what the Twitter poll seeks is a matter of debate. He has   laid off leaders of the trust and safety team , which would normally handle the logistics of reactivating the accounts.   And separating out those who “broke the law” is entirely dependent on whether Twitter has detailed documentation for each suspension. Without such a legal filter, which would be dependent on state and local laws for each tweet, every account would require a thorough review, given how laws vary widely by country and region.

Madeleine Burkholder, a senior technical solutions engineer who has worked on consumer products managing spam, said Musk’s ask is nonsensical. “Egregious spamming is not a technical term,” she said, and most record keeping at major tech companies doesn’t include questions of local governmental legal codes. The norm is to simply note whether an account violated a company’s terms of service, which are rules set by the platform, not a government entity.

“It gets really hairy to pull these threads apart and figure out what the exact behavior was that led to their suspension,” Burkholder said. “Was it an innocent mistake? Was it malicious? How malicious was it? … Doing that on a single case is challenging, trying to do it for every account ever, you’re guaranteed to make mistakes.”

Angelo Carusone, chairman and president of Media Matters, a nonprofit advocacy group and media watchdog, said that Musk’s decision could mean bringing back networks of individuals that include the American Nazi Party and “a whole bunch of 8chan, 4chan, conspiracy theorists who engage in harassment and abuse.” 8chan and 4chan are two message boards known for their racist and antisemitic posts.

Reversing the suspensions would mean “turning Twitter into a one-stop shop for operationalizing doxing and harassment, and an engine of radicalization,” Carusone said. “It’s a red pill Pez dispenser.”

And quitting Twitter won’t keep you safe. “Even if you’re not on Twitter, you can still be the recipient of these campaigns,” he said. He predicted that public health officials, election officials, journalists and teachers will all be targeted.

“Conducting major moderation and enforcement decisions on a whim is troubling CEO behavior,” said Nora Benavidez, senior counsel and director of digital justice and civil rights at   Free Press , a nonprofit advocacy group. “Musk, under the auspices of democracy, is legitimizing decisions that will have deeply dangerous consequences in the real world.”

Benavidez said that organizations including Free Press have spent years educating tech giants on complex trust and safety issues and “pressuring them to understand the really delicate and complex role they play in mitigating harm caused to real people.” If “general amnesty” is granted for the majority of suspended accounts, “It will be open season for people suspended for hate, harassment, disinformation, conspiracies and extremism,” Benavidez said. “It’s open season in the most dangerous ways.”

“You have journalists, activists in authoritarian regimes in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia who are now even at the mercy of even more vicious trolls with no ability to fight back,” said Caraballo. “It’s literally life or death for people.”

The lifting of the suspensions was especially troubling to LGBTQ activists, coming just days after a mass killing at the Club Q in Colorado Springs   killed five and wounded 18 . Several of the restored accounts had previously been suspended for hateful rhetoric toward the gay and trans community, and Musk has been criticized for replying to Tim Pool, a right-wing YouTube star who falsely claimed the club had hosted a “grooming event,” and other anti-LGBTQ accounts.

“It’s a slap in the face to LGBTQ people,” Caraballo said.

In the days after he took over Twitter, Musk initially promised not to change the site’s moderation policies and restore accounts until after he’d appointed a moderation council. But more recently Musk has backtracked on naming such a council and has   laid off hundreds of the Twitter employees   whose job it was to police posts on the site.

Dozens of Twitter’s advertisers have   paused spending with the platform   in the wake of Musk’s takeover, concerned about how his approach to content moderation might affect the site’s tone.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

Musk has called the results of his twitter polls "the voice of God". 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 months ago

"People who engaged in direct targeted harassment can come back and engage in doxing, targeted harassment, vicious bullying, calls for violence, celebration of violence."

Most of that was directed toward right wingers by the leftist censors.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
1.2  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 months ago

Actually, if your honest you would have quoted the FULL statement:  "The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.".  "Vox Populi, Vox Dei" translates to "The voice of the people is the voice of God."

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @1.2    2 months ago

According to Musk the results of his polls is the voice of the people, thus also the voice of God. Thats what "Vox Populi, Vox Dei" means. Dont try and outwit anybody. 

-

You have absolutely no standing to try and question other people's honesty. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
1.2.2  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.1    2 months ago
According to Musk the results of his polls is the voice of the people, thus also the voice of God.

So you are reiterating what I told you.  But then again, that's nothing new is it John.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2  Jeremy Retired in NC    2 months ago
Many predict the restoration of banned accounts will help bring on the “free-for-all hellscape”

Oh no!!!!  Opposing opinions will be heard by the left!  Oh the humanity!!!!!

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2    2 months ago

Who wants a moron invasion of twitter ? Not me. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    2 months ago

Yeah, we started to see that when Twitter started with their leftist bullshit.  Now it's getting back to a free exchange of ideas and opinions as a private company.  You know, without the lefts censorship.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2    2 months ago

Nothing like good old fear mongering by the left to start the morning off.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.2.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2.2    2 months ago

Honestly this looks closer to a temper tantrum.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.2.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.1    2 months ago

Yep, that too.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.3  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2    2 months ago
Oh no!!!!

why did i hear that in Mr Bills voice ?

 in other news , Mike lindell of My pillow fame is lookin to cash in on black friday sales to all the pillow biters out there having to replace worn out and chewed up pillows after the musk announcement ....

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.3.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2.3    2 months ago
why did i hear that in Mr Bills voice ?

Damn it.  Now I can't get that out of my head.

 in other news , Mike lindell of My pillow fame is lookin to cash in on black friday sales to all the pillow biters out there having to replace worn out and chewed up pillows after the musk announcement ....

jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif  

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.3.2  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.3.1    2 months ago

256

256

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3  Ronin2    2 months ago

You mean Twitter won't only carry leftist disinformation! 

Where will leftists go to be spoon fed their daily lies and Democrat talking points without any counterpoints?

All they will have left is Facebook, NBC, CNBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and 99% of the printed media. How will they make due w/o Twitter where they will actually have to read conservative counter viewpoints!

 
 
 
Snuffy
PhD Guide
3.1  Snuffy  replied to  Ronin2 @3    2 months ago
You mean Twitter won't only carry leftist disinformation!  Where will leftists go to be spoon fed their daily lies and Democrat talking points without any counterpoints?

I believe it's now Mastodon, provided they can stop eating their own...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4  Ender    2 months ago

I can only laugh at the hero worship some on the right now seem to have with musk....

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4    2 months ago

It's almost as funny as the freak we are seeing among those on the left.  Who would have thought free speech would set them off like this.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1    2 months ago

Your free speech meme is old and worn out.

But do go ahead with idolatry. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.2  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.1    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.2    2 months ago

Nope but we all know what your goal is here...

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.4  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.3    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
4.1.5  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.4    2 months ago
My goal is to pop open a beer

now that im done grinding elk and adding fat and getting the seasoning and cure measured for the day , i think i will join you on that .

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.6  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.4    2 months ago

If you think I am freaking out...you have some serious misconceptions running about.

Funny that you must love Musk so much that you have to come and make things up.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Ender  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4.1.5    2 months ago

Are you forgetting you are sitting down with the same people that called you ugly when you showed your picture once.

But do join them....

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.8  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.6    2 months ago
[deleted]

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.9  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.7    2 months ago
Are you forgetting you are sitting down with the same people that called you ugly when you showed your picture once.

Now you are just making shit up (again).  Post the link where I'm one of them.  

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.10  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.9    2 months ago

You are making things up out of thin air.

How are any of my comments hair on fire. Hint they are not. So maybe I am not the one triggered by a single comment....

By the way, I am not on twitter so I don't see how it is doing anything to me.

But do keep up with patting yourself on the back thinking you somehow owned the Libs.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.11  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.10    2 months ago
[deleted]
 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.12  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.11    2 months ago

Freaking out...seriously dude, get a life.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
4.1.13  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Ender @4.1.7    2 months ago

i do believe that those said that i look older than i am (ugly as you say)were actually members of the left wing section of this little menegere of a site  . sticks and stones as they say, i already knew i looked as rough as chewed rawhide after a dog gets ahold of it and craps it out , like i said it aint the age but the miles ., lotta miles and usually over washboarded dirt roads . . 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.14  Ender  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4.1.13    2 months ago

I remember it being your right wing brethren but whatever.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.15  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.12    2 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.16  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4.1.15    2 months ago

Really....So you have been attacking me this whole time....

So at least I can see you are only out to try to get people triggered....

Some would call that a troll.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Principal
4.1.17  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4.1.13    2 months ago
like i said it aint the age but the miles ., lotta miles and usually over washboarded dirt roads . . 

When I look in the mirror now
I see that time can be unkind
But I know every wrinkle
And I earned every line
So wear it like a royal crown
When you get old and grey
It's the cost of living
And everyone pays

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
4.1.18  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.1.17    2 months ago

Hear hear...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.19  Ender  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4.1.13    2 months ago

Some would say rugged. jrSmiley_100_smiley_image.jpg

Sorry, I shouldn't have even brought that up. It was uncalled for and I apologize. 

For the record, let's just say I am not going to call you handsome. Some might take it the wrong way....

I can count on one hand the people here that have had the guts to show themselves.

Myself, You, Trout, Kavika and Mac.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
4.1.20  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Ender @4.1.19    2 months ago

if you called me handsome , i would give you the side eye and ask you when was the last time you got your eyes checked ....they might be due .

 i got looking the way i do from being outside in the wyoming sun and weather for 30 yeaars , show me a fence post that looks good after 30 years of that  , of course being married 28 years contributed to the look as well , if i was still married the crypt keeper would be a chippendales dancer compared to me .

never apologize for the truth , you have nothing TO apologize for as far as im concerned , its the truth . i deal with it .

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
4.1.21  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.1.17    2 months ago

miss both of them , true trubadores .

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
4.1.22  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @4.1.16    2 months ago
So you have been attacking me this whole time

I've been pointing out the obvious with you.  Apparently you, and a biased mod, don't like that, flagged them all and they were deleted.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
5  Jeremy Retired in NC    2 months ago

[deleted

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
6  Sean Treacy    2 months ago

From noted psychopath Taylor Lorenz..

John might be her only remaining fan.

 
 

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