Donald Trump is allowed to join Twitter, Elon Musk announced. Musk justified the decision based on the results of his own personal Twitter poll. The @realDonaldTrump account and his tweets are once again fully visible, just days after Trump confirmed he would run for president again in 2024.
Shortly after taking over the social network, Musk said he would not reinstate any banned accounts until the company sets up and convenes a content moderation board with “very diverse views “.
Instead, Friday night, as people headed off for the weekend before Thanksgiving, he decided to poll his own Twitter followers. “Restore former President Trump,” he said. tweetednext to a poll with buttons to choose “Yes” or “No”.
“Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” he added in a follow-up tweet, Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
“Yes” responses won by a slim margin of 52 to 48. It’s unclear how many of these might have been bots; Musk himself suggested that the survey was being attacked by bots. Musk also tried to pull out of the Twitter deal by claiming that up to 20% of Twitter accounts were fake, and he once suggested that bots were responsible for the results of his controversial poll on Russia and Ukraine.
More 134 million people viewed the poll, according to Musk, although it resulted in just over 15 million responses. This would suggest that around 11% of those who saw it clicked on one of the buttons.
We’ll probably never know if Musk actually made the decision based on the poll or if he’s already made up his mind. In November 2021, he sold 10% of his Tesla shares after polling his followers, and the majority said he should. At the time, he wrote: “I will respect the results of this poll, however it turns out.” But The Wall Street Journal revealed that he had already made the decision to sell those shares in September, two months earlier, as part of a predefined trading plan to prevent executives from engaging in insider trading.
Former President Trump was banned from Twitter on January 8, 2021, “due to the risk of further incitement to violence” after Trump’s role in instigating the January 6 Capitol attacks. Twitter said at the time that Trump’s posts violated its rules against the apology of violence. From then until tonight, visitors to his Twitter profile were greeted with an “account suspended” message, instead of seeing his tweets.
During the long and difficult process of buying Twitter, Musk said he would restore Trump’s account. “I think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump,” Musk said in May. “I think that was a mistake because it alienated a lot of the country and ultimately didn’t stop Donald Trump from being heard…So I guess the answer is I would reverse the permaban.”
It’s unclear whether Trump will return to Twitter, guest or not. After being kicked out of Twitter, Trump joined Truth Social, a right-wing social media company developed by a company founded by the former president. Following Musk’s comments allowing him to rejoin Twitter, Trump said he would stay on Truth Social whether or not he was invited back. “Twitter has become very boring. They got rid of a lot of good voices on Twitter, a lot of their conservative voices,” Trump said at the time.
On Saturday, after being asked about Musk’s poll during a Q&A, Trump suggested he might not join, saying, “I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason why. .” But Trump also told his followers on Truth Social to vote for the Twitter poll on Saturday afternoon, about three hours before polls close.
Musk has described himself as a centrist in the past, but said in May 2022 that he “can no longer support [Democrats] and will vote Republican. Just before the midterm elections in the United States, Musk publicly suggested his supporters also vote Republican.
Musk also announced that Jordan Peterson, Kathy Griffin and The bee of Babylon would all be reinstated, without mentioning the establishment of said content moderation council. Musk also made no mention of a content moderation board alongside tonight’s decision to reinstate Trump. It’s unclear what happened to his promise that “no major decisions on content or account reinstatement will occur until this board meets.”
If Trump decides to return to Twitter, it could have a significant effect on the 2024 US election, with the former president once again in possession of his favorite megaphone: a Twitter account watched by media around the world that he can use to direct both support and abuse – and the implied support of the owner of this platform to do so.
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