Elon Musk has begun reinstating Twitter accounts that were previously subject to lifetime bans, taking the first steps toward his promise of lighter moderation on the platform. Announced Friday, the first affected accounts belong to author Jordan Peterson, comedian Kathy Griffin, and conservative parody outlet The Babylon Bee.
Notably, two of the three accounts were banned because of tweets misgendering trans people. Peterson was banned in July for tweets misgendering trans actor Elliot Page, which he said he would “rather die” than delete. The Babylon Bee was banned in March for similar tweets misgendering Rachel Levine, a trans woman currently serving as US assistant secretary of health.
Notably, The Babylon Bee was one of the outlets mentioned in Musks’s text messages, which were released as part of his court case.
The third account, belonging to the comedian Kathy Griffin, was banned only 11 days earlier as part of Musk’s push against impersonation. Griffin had impersonated Musk as part of a tweet about the midterm elections. At the time, Musk said Griffin would be allowed back onto the platform if she paid the $8 fee for Twitter Blue.
It’s unclear whether more reinstatements are imminent, particularly for the still-suspended former President Donald Trump, who recently launched his campaign to regain the presidency. Musk said the decision concerning Trump’s ban “has not yet been made.”
Musk previously claimed that no major moderation decisions, including reinstatements, would be made until he assembled a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints.” He did not mention the council in today’s announcement.
The reinstatements come at a moment of crisis for the platform, which has seen hundreds of employees resign in the wake of an ultimatum issued by Musk earlier this week. As a result of layoffs and ongoing attrition, the platform’s overall workforce has shrunk from 7,500 before the Musk acquisition to less than 3,000 ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
The departures have led to significant chaos within the company. After closing the offices on Thursday, Musk sent an email to the company’s software engineers saying, “Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2pm today.”