By Aaron Miller-
Twitter is believed to be falling apart after CEO Elon Musk closed his officers without clear reason and said on Friday that he is restoring three high-profile accounts that have previously been suspended for breaking the service’s rules, adding that he hadn’t made a decision about former President Donald Trump’s account.
Musk told his users that a decision on Trump has not yet been made,” after telling employees in a tweet that the company offices would be closed temporarily for three days.
The billionaire today said he was bringing back comedian Kathy Griffin, academic Jordan Peterson and conservative comedy site Babylon Bee. Critics of the billionaire say he is unwittingly setting up his platform for a disaster, but Musk has his own ideas of the kind of world he wants on his social platform. One in which people can say just about anything, a potential recipe for danger in a world of terrorism and hate crime.
Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account in 2020, due to his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and many of his reckless prejudicial statements. Trump had about 88.8 million Twitter followers when the company banned him.
However, Musk may be about to overturn that decision, after being on record for referring to the decision as “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”
Musk on Friday tweeted Friday that he would allow “freedom of speech” but not “freedom of reach.”
He said, “hate tweets” would be downranked in the platform’s algorithm, which means they will not be removed. This gives the impression the world’s richest man is prepared to allow hate speech and both harassing and intimidating language on his platform.
Musk said after buying Twitter for $44 billion that he would take a few weeks to make decisions about accounts that the company’s previous management had de-platformed. He said he would create a content moderation council with people from “the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fuelled violence.” It was not clear what Friday’s announcements meant for Musk’s previous statements.
Already the large exodus of employees from twitter is worrying for some, but not as much as his decision to close the offices on the weekend before the world cup.
Following the news, #RIPTwitter and #TwitterDown have been trending, as sceptics view a platform once the most popular on social media on its last legs.
Musk is expected to have advisers who will be able to tell him if he is going to far, but with such stupendous wealth, it may be difficult for people close to him toconfidently disagree with his views.