Former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has been reinstated on the platform.
The account, which Twitter banned following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, was restored after Twitter CEO Elon Musk posted a poll on Twitter late Friday asking users on the platform if Trump should to be reinstated.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk tweeted Saturday night. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
The final results of Saturday night’s poll showed 51.8% for and 48.2% against. The poll included 15 million votes.
The new owner’s much-anticipated decision sets the stage for the former president’s return to the social media platform where he was previously its most influential, albeit controversial, user with nearly 90 million followers and tweets that often moved markets, set the news cycle and drove the agenda in Washington.
Trump has previously said he will stay on his platform, Truth Social, instead of joining Twitter, but a change in his approach could have major political implications. The former president announced this month that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, aiming to become only the second commander-in-chief ever elected to two nonconsecutive terms.
Asked on Saturday how he felt about Musk’s purchase of Twitter and his own future on the platform, Trump praised Musk but wondered if the site would survive its current crises.
“They have a lot of problems,” Trump said in Las Vegas at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting. “You see what is happening. It may do it, it may not.
Still, Trump said he liked Musk and “liked him to buy (Twitter.)”
“He’s a character and I tend to like characters,” the former president said of Musk. “But he’s smart.”
Throughout Trump’s tenure in the White House, Twitter has been central to his presidency, a fact that has also benefited the company in the form of countless hours of user engagement. Twitter has often taken a lighthearted approach to moderating its account, sometimes arguing that as a public official the then-president must have wide latitude to speak.
But as Trump neared the end of his term — and increasingly tweeted false information alleging voter fraud — the balance shifted. The company began applying warning labels to its tweets in an effort to correct its misleading claims ahead of the 2020 presidential election. And following the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, the platform banned it. indefinitely.
“After careful consideration of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence,” Twitter said at the time. “In the context of the horrific events of this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of Twitter’s Rules would potentially result in this course of action.”
The decision follows two tweets by Trump that Twitter said violated the company’s policy against glorifying violence. The tweets, Twitter said at the time, “must be read in the context of broader events in the country and how the president’s statements may be leveraged by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior of this account over the past few weeks.
The first tweet – a statement about Trump supporters, whom he called “75,000,000 great American patriots who voted for me” – suggested that “he plans to continue to support, empower and protect those who believe that ‘He won the election,’ said Twitter. .
The second, which indicated that he had no intention of attending Joe Biden’s inauguration, could be seen as a further statement that the election was not legitimate and could be interpreted as Trump saying that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not be present, according to Twitter.
Shortly after Trump’s Twitter ban, he was also banned from Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, which could also restore his accounts as early as January 2023.
On Nov. 18, Musk tweeted that he had reinstated several controversial accounts on the platform, but that a “Trump decision has yet to be made.”
“Twitter’s new policy is freedom of expression, not freedom of access,” he said at the time. “Negative/hateful tweets will be deboosted and demonetized to the max, so no ads or other revenue for Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically search for it, which is no different from the rest of ‘Internet.
Musk previously said he disagrees with Twitter’s permanent ban policy and may also fire other accounts that have been removed from the platform for repeated rule violations.
“I think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump; I think it was a mistake,” Musk said at a conference in May, pledging to reverse the ban if he became the owner of the company.
Jack Dorsey, who was Twitter’s CEO when the company banned Trump but has since left, responded to Musk’s comments by saying he agreed there shouldn’t be permanent bans. Banning the former president, he said, was a “business decision” and “shouldn’t have been.”