By Hallelujah Hadero and Sofia Tulp | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Shortly after Elon Musk took control of Twitter, some conservative figures wasted no time jumping on the platform and rehashing long-debunked conspiracy theories in an attempt to “test” whether Twitter’s misinformation policies still stand.

Twitter has not announced any immediate policy changes, and in a tweet Friday afternoon, Musk said Twitter would form a “content moderation board with many different perspectives” and “no big decisions will be made about content or restoration of accounts before this advice gets used.”

But that didn’t stop users from cheering — or criticizing — what they expected to be a swift acceptance of Musk’s previous promises to reduce moderation in the name of promoting free speech. Some were all too eager to see what they would get away with under the new regime.

Popular right-wing pundits tweeted buzzwords like “ivermectin” and “Trump won” to see if they would be penalized for content they assumed had previously been flagged. Ivermectin, an inexpensive drug that kills parasites in humans and animals, has been touted by some Republican lawmakers and conservative talk show hosts as an effective way to treat COVID-19. But health experts are pushing back, warning that there is scant evidence to support the belief that it works.

“Ok @elonmusk is this thing on..?” Steve Cortez, a former commentator for the conservative television network Newsmax and an adviser to former President Donald Trump, wrote in a tweet that included a microphone emoji. “THERE ARE TWO SEXES TRUMP WON THE IVERMECTIN SCALE.”

In a letter aimed at allaying advertisers’ fears, Musk promised Thursday that Twitter would not be a “free hellscape where anything can be said without consequence.”

But the jury is still out on what will become of the social media platform — and what it will tolerate. Watchers keep track of who stays, who goes and who could potentially return from the list of people the platform has banned over the years. They range from Trump to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke — none of whom have so far returned to the platform.

The Associated Press checked at least a dozen other Twitter accounts that had been suspended by the platform — including those used by right-wing activist James O’Keefe and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — and each as of Friday found an “account suspended” message in the afternoon .

At least one still found a way to get his message out.

“I’m very happy that Twitter is now in good hands and will no longer be run by radical leftist lunatics and maniacs who really hate our country,” Trump said Friday morning in a post on his social media platform Truth Social, without letting no indication if it will return to the platform or not, though Musk has said he will allow it.

“I LOVE THE TRUTH!” he said, adding that Twitter would be “better off” if it worked to get rid of the bots and fake accounts “that have hurt it so badly”.

Earlier in the day, news outlets reported that Kanye West, the rapper legally known as Ye, appears to have returned to Twitter after being banned from his account earlier this month for his anti-Semitic posts on the social media platform.

But there was no evidence to suggest his account status had changed or that Musk played a role, and there was no sign of recent activity. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Yeh had returned to the platform. The rapper and fashion designer was also suspended from Instagram, where his account there was recently reinstated.

Meanwhile, dozens of extremist profiles — some newly created — spread racial slurs and Nazi imagery while expressing gratitude to Musk for his new leadership. One such post shared the breaking news of Musk taking over the company, tweeting a racial slur and the message “thank you Elon.” Another anonymous account tweeted, “Elon now controls Twitter, unleashed racial slurs,” along with several derogatory comments.

“His acquisition of Twitter opened Pandora’s box,” the advocacy group Ultraviolet said in a prepared statement Friday, while urging Musk, Twitter executives and the company’s board of directors to continue enforcing the ban against Trump “as well as the right to violent extremists and white racists.

Some users reacted to the news by threatening to quit, while others mocked them for it. The terms “Elon” and “delete” trended on Twitter on Friday as users debated the fallout. Speculation also permeated the platform. Some worried that their Twitter follower numbers were dropping, theorizing that Twitter might be cleaning up bots. Other users have posted unconfirmed reports that their “likes” are dropping.

“Elon Musk bought a platform, he didn’t buy people,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and professor at Syracuse University. “And we still have choices about how we get our news, our information and how we communicate.”

After Musk took over, some users tested Twitter’s boundaries