“Vox Populi, Vox Dei”. The voice of the people is the voice of God.
That is how Elon Musk justified his decision to offer “amnesty” to previously suspended Twitter accounts. The new Twitter CEO had posted a poll the day earlier over whether the platform should restore affected accounts.
“Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?”
Seventy two per cent of the responses said “yes”.
The people have spoken.
Amnesty begins next week.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
It was, of course, a non-scientific poll and with all of the layoffs and staff departures at Twitter, it is hard to imagine how the platform can keep up with user reports of violations of the company’s terms of service in any case.
I have said many times before that I tend toward the views expressed so eloquently in Aaron Sorkin’s “The American President”:
"You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours."https://t.co/XAlrcUIyyb
— Mark Goldberg (@Mark_Goldberg) January 28, 2022
Still, if a social media platform – any social media platform – has terms of service, then it needs to be prepared to enforce them. And it needs to be prepared to respect the legal framework in the countries in which it operates. What happens when a platform doesn’t even try to enforce its own code of conduct?
I’m not convinced Musk’s latest move will help recover some of the billions of dollars of value that evaporated since Musk acquired Twitter.
As an aside, am I the only one thinking of 007 villain Hugo Drax when I read about Elon Musk’s exploits?