All the Worst Twitter Policy Offenders Elon Musk Is Giving Free Rein To

All the Worst Twitter Policy Offenders Elon Musk Is Giving Free Rein To

Last month, Gizmodo considered who could be the worst people to get their Twitter accounts back under new CEO Elon Musk’s rule. Well, we guessed right with a few of those accounts already back on while other, completely unexpected accounts have also had their profiles reinstated.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Musk has completely upended content moderation at Twitter. In effect, Musk now controls all aspects of the Trust and Safety Team, which has previously worked to moderate Twitter content. The Post wrote that, according to anonymous sources close to the company, the team has become alienated. Musk is now looking to automate the team’s work, effectively eliminating all humans, save Musk himself, from the equation.

Considering who he’s been reinstating lately, that may be a very horrifying prospect. Even after the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs that targeted members of the LGBTQ community, Musk has not stopped bringing back accounts that have been part of the far-right’s anti-trans narrative.

Musk has set up a kind of “advisory council” for content moderation, but the new CEO seems to consider himself both judge and jury for any offending tweets. According to reports on an internal Q&A that took place late on Monday, Musk said “I will hear what [the council members] have to say and I will either agree with it or I won’t.”

Elon Musk is not listed as the arbiter of any of Twitter’s stated user policies, at least not yet, but despite Twitter’s policies remaining the same, the user experience has changed dramatically. In effect, Musk wants chaos to drive traffic (he regularly tweets about it as if new users means extra money for his increasingly ad-starved company), and with more previously banned accounts on offer, controversy seems to be Twitter’s new, quiet public policy.

Though much of the focus was on right-wing accounts, comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been suspended after trolling Musk on Twitter, also had her profile reactivated. It should be noted that profiles for the Babylon Bee and Jordan Peterson weren’t actually suspended, but were locked until the users agreed to remove tweets that violated the company’s user policy. Griffin, on the other hand, had her account suspended after she dared change her picture and profile name to poke fun at Musk, which the CEO called “impersonating.”

Gizmodo reached out to Twitter to learn if it had any public reasoning for these accounts being reinstated, but since the company’s press team is all but caput, we don’t expect to hear back. Since Musk seems to be taking the lead in determining which accounts belong on Twitter and which ones don’t, any of their past or present behaviour reflects on the new company CEO first and foremost. Knowing just how bad some of these figures were, and continue to be, that’s not any kind of raving endorsement.

Donald Trump

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

We all knew this was coming, but still Musk’s over-the-weekend announcement that he was giving former President Donald Trump his once-favourite toy back was still blisteringly stupid. Twitter’s new CEO posted a poll to his personal Twitter account asking users to say “yes” or “no” to having Trump return. While Musk claimed there were more than just Musk sycophants voting on the poll, it’s still a biased means of gauging the entire Twitter public. The man who recently told his users to “vote Republican” would likely have a higher number of supporters predisposed to bringing back the old tweeter-in-chief.

What rules did Donald Trump break during his presidency? Tons, but on Jan. 8 the platform finally permanently suspended his account following the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, Twitter noted his comments after the whole ordeal “can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence.”

Though really, the poll was just a smokescreen to give his decision some kind of legitimacy beyond himself. Even if Musk disagrees with Trump on occasion, he may want the name back on Twitter to help drive more traffic. His asinine tenet of being a “free speech absolutist” isn’t a part of Twitter’s stated policy, at least not yet.

Trump has mentioned he may possibly post some on Twitter, but he could be restricted by his current agreement with Truth Social.

The Babylon Bee

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

The Babylon Bee is what happens when a few angry, unfunny, unempathetic right-wingers try and do The Onion-style fake journalism. None of their jokes land, for one because they are just generally unfunny people, but mostly because they routinely punch down with mean-spirited antagonistic opinions.

They’re also apparent fans of Musk himself, as they announced Nov. 18 “We’re back. Let that sink in” echoing Elon Musk’s entrance to Twitter HQ last month.

Babylon Bee had its account suspended after they referred to trans woman Rachel Levine as their pick for “man of the year,” which is an obvious attempt to misgender somebody. All the company had to do to get back on the site was delete the offending tweet, but the company refused. That tweet now remains up on the account.

Twitter policy notes there are rules against repeated content “that degrades someone” and specifically references targeted misgendering or deadnaming transgender individuals.

There’s a lot pointing to the new Twitter CEO’s appreciation of the Bee’s sense of (un)humour. The Washington Post’s Tuesday report noted that mere hours after taking control of Twitter, he told the Trust and Safety team to bring back the Babylon Bee. The site’s CEO Seth Dillon had previously wrote that Musk himself reached out to his company over the ban, even noting these account suspensions as a reason he wanted to buy the company. Musk has shown he is antagonistic to the use of gender pronouns, so it seems Twitter’s own policies about misgendering public figures doesn’t phase him either.


Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

Ye, who once went by Kanye West, found himself back on Twitter Sunday thanks to Musk’s firm hand. His account was locked several weeks ago after he posted he wanted to “go death con 3 on Jewish people” along with a string of overtly anti-semitic comments.

Now that he’s back on Twitter, the music artist thought it would be funny to tweet “Shalom.”

Mental health experts have told Gizmodo that Ye’s anti-semitism is inexcusable despite his noted issues with bipolar disorder. Twitter also has a very explicit policy against hate speech that Ye’s comments obviously violated.

But Musk welcomed the rapper back onto the platform, writing “Don’t kill what ye hate, Save what ye love.”

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

Congress’ chief in venom-laced, dumb, dry rhetoric Marjorie Taylor Greene has regained her personal Twitter account after losing it earlier this year for posting covid misinformation. She made the point from her official representative account, writing: ‘On January 2, 2022, they violated my freedom of speech and ability to campaign & fundraise crying “covid misinformation.’ My account is back. Go follow @mtgreenee for MTG unfiltered.”

Who wants Marjorie Taylor Greene without compunction? Just think, it’s so unfiltered you can practically choke on it.

Greene’s personal account was originally suspended for repeatedly violating Twitter’s policy against covid misinformation.

That policy hasn’t changed, but leadership at Twitter has. Then again, Greene’s an openly bigoted person, so much so that she tweeted a hateful anti-trans comment earlier this year, and though it obviously violated Twitter’s policies against trans hate, the post remained up.

Andrew Tate

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

The influencer and former kickboxer who went by Andrew Tate III has had a short yet storied career being an utter misogynist and peddler of advice on such excellent investments like crypto at his own “Hustler’s University.” He attracted young men feeling urges to let out their frustration and bigotry at women. Let’s not forget his kickboxing career ended, and his internet stardom began, when a video of him beating a woman with a belt circulated online.

He has been previously booted off Twitter in 2017 after he said rape victims “bear some responsibility” for their assualts. He had also made a slew of other homophobic and racist remarks on the platform. All this, of course, fell against Twitter’s policies.

According to a report from CNET, Tate was banned from Twitter for avoiding a previous ban. The ex-kickboxer had created multiple new accounts trying to avoid that earlier ban, which again, is blocked under Twitter’s policies. But for Musk, it seems horrible comments about rape victims don’t seem to stack up too high on the scale of misdeeds.

Hustler University is more akin to a multi-level-marketing scam than an actual course, according to a report from The Guardian. Twitter has pretty explicit rules about promoting financial scams, so any new post he makes promoting that service could be in violation of Twitter’s rules, if anyone’s left to care.

Jordan Peterson

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

Up yours, woke moralists,” the whining Canadian intellectual Jordan Peterson told the world in a video following his account being locked earlier this year. “We’ll see who cancels who.”

Peterson’s account was suspended following a tweet where he deadnamed actor Elliot Page and further implied he had gender affirmation surgery “by a criminal physician.”

Again, like the Babylon Bee, all Peterson had to do to get his account back was delete the tweet, but Peterson staunchly refused, which is why he launched his video screed back in July decrying Twitter for upsetting his favourite way to wax both parts lyrically and idiotically about subjects ranging from climate change to the LGBTQ+ space.

At the time, Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila brought Peterson’s dire straits to Musk with a tweet.

Again, it’s all clear in Twitter’s policies whether users are allowed to deadname other users.

Carl Benjamin

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

A British YouTuber who goes by Sargon of Akkad, Carl Benjamin has had a hate-hate relationship with the platforms he’s on for a while now. The right-wing vlogger got his start in the misogynistic online harassment campaign known as Gamergate. He’s since been known for his unbelievably dumb takes on subjects ranging from feminism to politics. In 2016, politician Jess Phillips said she received rape threats from men online. How did Benjamin respond? He tweeted at her “I wouldn’t even rape you.”

He was banned from Twitter for violating the platform’s rules on targeted abuse. Oh, he’s tried to return to Twitter several times under new account names, but those accounts have also been cut off because, again, using alt accounts to get around a suspension is against Twitter’s rules.

On Tuesday, the YouTuber said he’s back on Twitter. He wrote:

“Five years in exile is a long time. A lot has changed. We are in a different world now, and I am a different man. Things will be different, but hopefully, better. The tide may be turning.”

Juanita Broaddrick

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

Juanita Broaddrick is most known for her accusation she was raped by Bill Clinton in 1978 when he was still the attorney general of Arkansas. More importantly for her and her Twitter account, Broaddrick had become a big anti-vaxxer. In April this year, Twitter blocked her account after she tweeted that covid vaccines “don’t work and alter people’s DNA,” a routinely disproven lie.

Twitter has had explicit policies against spreading vaccine misinformation. And again, this was a case of Twitter saying they would reimplement her account if she took down the offending Tweet.

In her tweet announcing her return, Broaddrick thanked Musk along with a regular right-wing troll account “catturd.”

Protect Texas Kids and other anti-trans groups

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter

Protect Texas Kids is an anti-LGBTQ group led by Kelly Neidert, who Axios noted had once described herself as a “Christian fascist.” They have hosted protests against LGBTQ-promoting events in Texas which have drawn support from the likes of Proud Boys and people wearing Nazi clothing bearing Nazi symbols like the twin lighting bolts of the SS.

They were also active on social media like Twitter up until they were booted this year for violating Twitter’s rules on abuse and harassment. Specifically, Neidert wrote on Twitter that those who attend pride celebrations should be “rounded up.”

Now they’re inexplicably back and are already asking their supporters to protest LGBTQ or drag-themed events. Even the recent Colorado Spring club shooting hasn’t deterred Musk and his team from bringing back more awful content to Twitter.

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