Sir Elton John has announced he will no longer be using Twitter following a change in its policy which he says “will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked”.
The 75-year-old musician’s comments come after new Twitter owner Elon Musk said he is granting an “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.
Sir Elton said on Twitter: “All my life I’ve tried to use music to bring people together. Yet it saddens me to see how misinformation is now being used to divide our world. I’ve decided to no longer use Twitter, given their recent change in policy which will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked.”
Tesla chief executive Musk was recently warned by Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for digital policy, that he has to increase measures to protect users so Twitter avoids violating rules that threaten tech giants with big fines or even a ban in the 27-nation bloc.
Musk was told he has to significantly increase efforts to comply with the new rules, known as the Digital Services Act, set to take effect next year.
What is the suspended account amnesty about?
Twitter’s suspended account amnesty came about after Musk started a poll last month asking Twitter users whether accounts that had “not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam” should be let back on the social media platform.
More than 3.1m Twitter users responded to the poll, with 72.4% of them voting in favour. Musk said at the time: “The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week.” The decision has sparked alarm among online safety campaigners, with many warning that the change would lead to a rise in hate and abuse on the site.
Last weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Musk for what he called a “clear and honest discussion” amid mounting concerns over a rise in hate speech on Twitter.
While visiting the United States, the French leader posted a photo on Twitter of his encounter with the billionaire, showing the two men sitting across from each other at a table in an empty room.
Macron had criticised Musk’s relaxation of content moderation policies the day earlier, telling the television programme Good Morning America it was “a big issue”.
Their meeting came after online safety campaigners said hate speech on Twitter is rising under Musk’s ownership, despite the billionaire’s claims that it has been declining.