Elon Musk suspends Twitter users who impersonate him and are not called a ‘parody’


New Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted on Monday encouraging “independent-minded voters” to vote Republican, marking a major shift for social media company executives, who typically shy away from partisan political advocacy.

“Power sharing curbs the worst excesses of both parties, so I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the presidency is Democrat,” he tweeted.

The remark capped a rocky weekend in which Musk abruptly changed course on several major issues for the company, which he acquired for $44 billion just over a week ago. After laying off about half the workforce on Friday, Twitter began scrambling to rehire some who had been laid off. It postponed the planned launch of its new paid verification product until after the midterm elections.

And he suspended popular accounts for impersonating Musk, under a new policy Musk announced on Sunday.

Musk’s endorsement of GOP candidates to his 115 million Twitter followers a day before the midterm elections is likely to intensify the partisan divide around his takeover of the platform. In the past, lawmakers have asked executives of social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, whether their decisions could have influenced election results, even though those executives carefully avoided signaling their party preferences. or a given candidate.

Meanwhile, Twitter began suspending accounts ‘engaged in impersonation’ on Sunday after Musk announced that any accounts that falsely use the names of real people without the ‘parody’ tag would be immediately banned from Twitter. the platform. The move came after a flood of users changed their display names to match his.

“Going forward, all Twitter accounts that engage in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk said. tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Previously we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”

“Any name changes will result in the temporary loss of the verified tick,” he added, referring to the blue tick next to people’s names, which indicates their account is genuine and not impersonation. .

The new impersonation policy appeared to contradict Musk’s assurance last week that he would convene a “content moderation board with very diverse viewpoints” before making major content decisions. In May, Musk criticized the permanent suspensions, saying they “fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter.”

Musk also previously indicated he would reinstate permanently suspended accounts such as former President Donald Trump’s, which was banned after the Jan. 6 riot under Twitter’s policies against incitement to violence. . But last week he said the company wouldn’t bring trump back or other accounts banned before mid-terms.

In another quick turnaround, the company began reaching out over the weekend to try to rehire employees it had just laid off, according to multiple insiders, including two with direct knowledge of the rehiring efforts who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive topics. . Among the people Twitter is reportedly looking to rehire are engineers who worked on the company’s Android app,

Several Twitter users, some of whom are verified on the platform, began changing their display names to “Elon Musk” after the billionaire completed his $44 billion purchase of the platform in late October. Many, impersonating Musk, mocked his controversial announcement that Twitter would soon charge users $8 a month for verification.

Twitter will charge $8 per month for verification. What do you want to know.

Among those apparently suspended from Twitter for changing their display name to ‘Elon Musk’ was comedian Kathy Griffin, who under the nickname Musk urged Americans to vote for the Democrats in the mid-election -mandate.

“I decided that voting blue for their choice was right,” she wrote shortly before her the account has been suspended. YouTuber Ethan Klein also appeared to be suspended from the platform after joining those impersonating Musk.

Griffin fans called Twitter’s decision a crackdown on free speech and a travesty, using the hashtag #freekathy to criticize the platform’s new policy. Later Sunday, Musk, who is the richest person in the world, tweeted that Griffin could get her account back if she paid.

“If she really wants her account back, she can have it,” Musk wrote. “For $8.”

Griffin, meanwhile, seems to have moved on to other platforms.

Shortly after being banned from her Twitter account, she wrote on Instagram: “I’m trending on Twitter. Long story.”

She also joined Mastodon, the six-year-old social platform that has been steadily gaining new followers since Musk took over Twitter.

They swapped Twitter for Mastodon Social. Now what?

On Monday, Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko said it was “pretty cool” that the social network had reached over a million monthly active users and that the network had acquired nearly half a million. new users since October 27, Musk’s day. Takeover of Twitter.

Last week, Mastodon recognized its servers are “under a very heavy load”, due to what it described as an “extreme spike in user numbers”.

Twitter’s crackdown on parody accounts is a long series of new policy changes introduced after Musk bought the platform. Shortly after taking over the platform, he fired several longtime Twitter executives and announced massive layoffs at the company.

Elon Musk’s Twitter firings, explained

Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.

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