From Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon to rapper Wiley: The banned accounts that could soon return to Twitter under Elon Musk’s suspension ‘amnesty’

  • New Twitter CEO Elon Musk said he will grant ‘amnesty’ to suspended accounts
  • It means accounts previously banned prior to Musk’s ownership may now return
  • Examples of banned accounts are Wiley, Tommy Robinson and Steve Bannon

Elon Musk’s proposal to grant ‘amnesty’ to suspended Twitter accounts could see a number of controversial figures allowed back on the platform.

Musk has said he will grant a reprieve to accounts that have not ‘broken the law or engaged in egregious spam’ as part of a pledge to increase free speech on the site.

MailOnline has taken a look at all the accounts that could return, including those belonging to rapper Wiley, far-right activist Tommy Robinson and former White House adviser Steve Bannon. 

In the past, the figures have fallen foul of Twitter’s rules against racist, anti-semitic and hateful content – but Musk’s ‘amnesty’ could bring them back. 

MailOnline has taken a look at all the accounts that could be granted a reprieve, including those belonging to rapper Wiley, far-right activist Tommy Robinson and former White House adviser Steve Bannon

– Donald Trump

– Kanye West

– Andrew Tate

– Jordan Peterson

– Majorie Taylor Green

Twitter accounts already unbanned since Musk took over Twitter at the end of October include those belonging to former president Donald Trump, rapper Kanye West and kickboxer Andrew Tate. 

Musk’s actions to give controversial figures ‘amnesty’ has sparked alarm among online safety campaigners, with many warning that the change will lead to a rise in hate and abuse on the site.

‘It beggars belief that this is even being considered,’ said Tony Restell, founder of social media agency Social-Hire. 

‘Imagine the uproar if a new government was elected and said they were going to release everyone from prison. The public would be terrified.

‘Well, this is the social media equivalent and is just the latest example of Musk demonstrating his weak moral compass.’ 

STEVE BANNON

Steve Bannon, a former advisor for Donald Trump, was permanently banned from Twitter in November 2020 following comments that were judged to incite violence. 

Bannon suggested that infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded for not being pro-Trump enough to serve in his administration. 

The former White House chief strategist’s comments were made during a livestream of his online show War Room: Pandemic. 

Steve Bannon, a former advisor for Donald Trump, was permanently banned from Twitter in November 2020.

Musk has said he will grant a reprieve to accounts that had not ‘broken the law or engaged in egregious spam’ as part of a pledge to increase free speech on the site

TRUMP HAS NO PLANS TO USE TWITTER

Former US President Donald Trump has no plans to return to Twitter despite his account being reinstated by new owner Elon Musk. 

‘I don’t see any reason for it,’ the former president said when asked if he’d return to Twitter at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.

He said he would stick with his new platform Truth Social, the app developed by his Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) company.

Truth Social has better user engagement than Twitter and is doing ‘phenomenally well’, Trump said.

Musk reinstated Trump’s account, @realDonaldTrump, on Monday following results of a Twitter poll.  

Trump’s account was removed following his role in last year’s attack on the US Capitol.   

‘The second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci,’ Bannon said around the time of the US presidential election. 

‘I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put the heads on pikes. 

‘I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats.’

Twitter said it suspended the podcast account for violating ‘our policy on the glorification of violence’.  

WILEY 

British rapper Wiley was banned from Twitter in 2020, as well as Instagram and Facebook, for social media posts that were widely condemned as anti-semitic. 

Wiley, real name Richard Cowie Jr, made a series of offensive posts, including one which called Jewish people ‘cowards and snakes’. 

He caused further controversy when he claimed his Jewish associates in the music and entertainment industry ‘still see us as slaves’ in an interview with The Voice newspaper. 

In December 2021, Wiley was suspended from Twitter again after creating a new account to tweet from. 

On that account, he tweeted an image of himself in Hasidic garb and a video titled ‘the Jewish Faces that Control Hiphop and Mainstream Black Music.’ 

Twitter told Jewish News that the account was ‘permanently suspended for violations of the Twitter rules on hateful conduct policy’.  

Wiley, real name Richard Cowie Jr, was banned from social media platforms for posts that were widely condemned as anti-semitic

Twitter told Jewish News that a new account Wiley created was ‘permanently suspended for violations of the Twitter rules on hateful conduct policy’

DAVID DUKE 

Notorious white supremacist and former Imperial Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan David Duke lost his Twitter account after some highly offensive tweets. 

In his posts, Duke had referred to black people as ‘savages,’ Jewish people as ‘degenerate filth’ and trans-people as ‘trannies’. 

Duke’s account was ‘permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter rules on hateful conduct,’ the company said in a statement.

It didn’t specify what exactly Duke posted that triggered the ban, but its policy on hateful conduct prohibits promoting violence or threatening attacks against people based on religious affiliation, race or ethnic origin.   

Among other controversial comments, Duke referred to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace as a ‘Zio’ (Zionist) and his father, Mike Wallace, as a ‘rad left Zio’ (radical left Zionist), meant to be an insult.

Zionists believe Judaism is a nationality, in addition to a religion, and that the Jewish people deserve their own nation – a concept denied by neo-Nazis.

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke was permanently banned from Twitter for violating rules on hate speech. Pictured, Duke participates in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 2017

Twitter had updated its policy to ban accounts with harmful links to includes those that share hateful content

HIVE SOCIAL SEES 1 MILLION SIGNUPS SINCE MUSK BOUGHT TWITTER

Hive Social claims not to use algorithms to determine which posts users see

While Twitter suffers amid Elon Musk’s takeover, Hive Social benefits from the chaos.

The social app has reported more than one million signups in the last 30 days and sits at the top of Apple’s App Store’s social network apps chart.

Hive Social, launched in 2019, is said to be the closest replica of Twitter, with its chronological feed, profiles and lead posts, while pulling inspiration from Instagram by emphasising visuals.

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Duke also advocated coronavirus conspiracy theories, such as ones that claim the death toll during the pandemic was lower than the official number.

‘Is there anybody but Lemming Brain Dead mass kamikazes who still believe in the “official” Covid-19 death totals? If so, put the straight-jacket on them, they need it,’ he tweeted in July 2020.  

Duke led the KKK from 1974 to 1978 before he rebranded himself as a born-again Christian to run for Congress. 

KATIE HOPKINS

English media personality and right wing commentator Katie Hopkins was removed from Twitter for a string of offensive tweets that violated Twitter’s ‘hateful conduct’ policy.

She sparked outrage on numerous occasions with comments on race, religion and immigration, which led to a petition urging Twitter to silence her.

A Twitter spokesman confirmed that Hopkins’s account had been shut down for breaking the site’s rules, shortly after she mocked the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Hopkins posted: ‘Today is #whiteoutwednesday. I will shortly be posting a picture of my arse. Thank you.’

In addition, she tweeted: ‘I am a Straight. White. Christian. Conservative. Married. Mother. of three. And I am PROUD of all these things. Get off your knees to the thuggery #BlackLivesMatter”

She also challenged Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals, writing: ‘Dear Marcus Rashford, do you think women should think about how they are going to feed a child before they decide to have it?

‘I do not want to pay to feed other people’s kids. You are welcome to. Thank you, Katie Hopkins.’    

Katie Hopkins at a protest against vaccine passports in Trafalgar Square. London in July 2021

TOMMY ROBINSON 

Far-right activist, convicted criminal and former leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, added a Twitter ban to his list of indictments in 2018. 

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon, was taken down for violating the platform’s policies on ‘hateful conduct’, though it is not clear what triggered the suspension.

Robinson himself told the Guardian he believed he had been banned for posting a tweet that portrayed the religion of Islam as inherently violent and ‘promotes killing people’. 

Other racist tweets from Robinson include: ‘I’d personally send every adult male Muslim that has come into the EU over the past 12 months back tomorrow if I could. Fake refugees.’  

Pictured, far-right activist, convicted criminal and former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson

In the past, controversial figures have fallen foul of Twitter’s rules against racist, anti-semitic and hateful content – but Musk’s relaxation of rules that had them banned could bring them back (file photo)

DAVID ICKE 

David Icke is a former footballer and sports broadcaster who is now famous for his bizarre conspiracy theorist views.

After visiting a psychic in 1990, he declared that he was the ‘Son of the Godhead’ and predicted on Terry Wogan’s BBC chat show that the world would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes.

He has written more than 20 books laying out his views, but has self-published since the mid-1990s after publishers refused to touch his work.

He claims a race of reptilian beings, including the Royal Family, have hijacked the Earth and manipulate global events. 

English conspiracy theorist, David Icke addresses the crowds at the We Do Not Consent protest – an anti-lockdown demonstration – in Trafalgar Square London, September 2020

David Icke was identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate as a leading producer of misinformation about Covid, saying that there was a link between the pandemic and 5G mobile phone networks.

Icke was finally permanently suspended in November 2020 for ‘violating Twitter’s rules regarding Covid misinformation’, a spokesman said. 

PAUL GOLDING 

Paul Golding was one of multiple Britain First figures who was removed in 2017 following the introduction of anti-abuse rules on Twitter.

Golding, who was jailed in 2018 for religiously aggravated harassment against Muslims, is the leader of Britain First, a fascist political party that campaigns against multiculturalism. 

Paul Golding (pictured here in 2020) was one of multiple Britain First figures who were removed from Twitter in 2017

Also among the Britain First accounts suspended was deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who gained notoriety when three anti-Muslim videos she posted were retweeted by Donald Trump. 

Twitter’s removals coincided with the platform enforcing new rules and guidelines designed to make Twitter a ‘safer environment’. 

WHAT HAS MUSK SAID? 

Last week, Musk conducted a Twitter poll that asked: ‘Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?’

The poll received more than three million votes, with 72.4 per cent voting ‘yes’. 

Following the results, Musk tweeted ‘Vox Populi, Vox Dei’ – a Latin phrase meaning ‘voice of the people’ – adding: ‘The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week.’

Elon Musk (pictured) took the reins at Twitter following his $44 billion purchase at the end of October

Musk has said that, under his leadership, Twitter will look to combat any attempts to spread hate or abuse by minimising and demoting such content so fewer people see it.

He said the goal is ‘a trusted digital town square’ where a wide range of views are ‘tolerated provided people don’t break the law or spam’. 

‘For example, any incitement to violence will result in account suspension,’ the new Twitter CEO said. 

Users replied by pointing out that former President Donald Trump was banned for incitement to violence leading up to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building but his account, @realDonaldTrump, has now been reinstated. 

Musk reinstated former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account after a poll that received more than 15 million votes

Trump, however, claims he has no plans to return to Twitter despite his account being reinstated by Musk.

‘I don’t see any reason for it,’ the former president said when asked if he’d return to Twitter at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting earlier this month. 

Trump said he will stick with his new platform Truth Social, which has better user engagement than Twitter and is doing ‘phenomenally well’.

HIVE, MASTODON, TRUTH SOCIAL OR TRIBEL? MAILONLINE TESTS FOUR TWITTER ALTERNATIVES AS MILLIONS OF USERS DESERT ELON MUSK’S PLATFORM 

It’s been quite the dramatic start for new Twitter owner Elon Musk since he purchased the platform at the end of last month for a whopping $44 billion.

The self-proclaimed ‘Chief Twit’ laid off roughly 3,700 of Twitter’s 7,500 workers, while hundreds more resigned after deciding not to be part of Musk’s ‘extremely hardcore’ Twitter 2.0. 

Musk’s takeover has also raised concerns about the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech on the platform, with many controversial accounts – including Donald Trump’s – reinstated, having been banned in the past. 

What with the recent developments under Musk, it seems there’s never been a better time to explore some potential replacements. 

MailOnline has tried out four Twitter rivals – Mastodon, Hive Social, Tribel and Donald Trump’s Truth Social – and picked a favourite. 

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