Elon Musk said early Wednesday that Twitter would not reinstate banned accounts to the platform for “at least a few more weeks” as the company figures out its “election integrity” policies ahead of the midterm elections.
“Twitter will not allow anyone who was de-platformed for violating Twitter rules back on platform until we have a clear process for doing so, which will take at least a few more weeks,” Musk, who became Twitter’s owner last week, said in a tweet early Wednesday morning.
Since taking ownership of the company, Musk has fired Twitter’s board of directors and made himself the sole director. He now has complete control over the company and can make decisions about the platform without board approval, an arrangement he has said is “temporary.”
Musk’s tweet signals that former President Donald Trump and other banned accounts will not return to the platform before the midterm elections on Nov. 8. Musk provided the update in reply to a tweet from Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, who said the platform is “staying vigilant against attempts to manipulate conversations” about the midterms.
Musk said he has spoken with civil society leaders — including executives at the Anti-Defamation League, Free Press and the NAACP — about “how Twitter will continue to combat hate & harassment & enforce its election integrity policies.” The content moderation council that Musk is organizing “will include representatives with widely divergent views, which will certainly include the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence,” he said.
Musk made headlines just earlier this week for tweeting out right-wing misinformation from his personal account, apparent confirmation in the eyes of his critics about the platform’s direction under his ownership. Musk has since deleted the tweet — which promoted a false story about the brutal attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband — but it was left up long enough to stoke concerns about Musk permanently changing Twitter’s policies.
Before taking over the platform, the Tesla CEO was openly critical of Twitter’s content moderation policies that monitor hate speech and disinformation before he became owner and is widely expected to curtail those moderation rules. He addressed concerns directly to advertisers last week about Twitter becoming a haven for hate speech under his ownership, saying the platform wouldn’t become a “hellscape” and would be “warm and welcoming to all.”