Twitter CEO Elon Musk said that the social media company would amend the policy which caused Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) to lose account access to his account after he changed his profile photo to an image from a hunting trip.
The picture violated Twitter rules against “graphic violence or adult content in profile images,” according to a notice from the social media company shared by Daines spokeswoman Rachel Dumke. The notice added that the company considers “graphic violence to be any form of gory media related to death, serious injury, violence, or surgical procedures.” Daines was told that he must delete the profile photo in order to unlock his account.
Backlash from social media users, including fellow lawmakers Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), prompted Musk to vow that the issue would be resolved.
“This is being fixed,” the billionaire entrepreneur commented. “Policy against showing blood in profile pic is being amended to ‘clearly showing blood without clicking on the profile pic.’ The intent is to avoid people being forced to see gruesome profile pics.”
The picture of the antelope killed by Cindy Daines, the wife of Steve Daines, nevertheless appeared to show little blood apart from several drops on the animal’s front leg. There were no firearms or other weapons shown in the picture.
“Going forward, Twitter will be broadly accepting of different values, rather than trying to impose its own specific values on the world,” Musk added in a separate post.
Musk acquired Twitter at the end of last year for $44 billion, saying he wanted to restore freedom of expression to the platform. The world’s second-richest man told advertisers that he purchased the company to “have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.” At the same time, he has expressed a desire to refrain from promoting what he deems to be radical left-wing and right-wing content on the site; he vowed that the social media platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” where users could breach the law with impunity or splinter into “echo chambers.”
Though a number of conservative accounts have been restored to the platform since Musk assumed control, including those belonging to DailyWire+ host Jordan Peterson and Christian satire site The Babylon Bee, various censorship actions appear to have continued. Project Veritas temporarily lost account access after sharing footage of a Pfizer official admitting that the company does not know why their vaccines are impacting women’s menstrual cycles. The move was induced by the nonprofit sharing video from one of their reporters confronting YouTube Vice President of Global Trust and Safety Matt Halprin on why the platform censored the sting.
Musk also restored the Twitter account belonging to former President Donald Trump after previous executives removed him over his alleged role in the January 6 riots at the United States Capitol. “I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country, and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” Musk explained, adding that the decision was “morally bad” and clarifying that he would “reverse the permanent ban.” Trump, who is mounting a third bid for the White House, has not yet reassumed control of the account.