Elon Musk announced on Saturday evening that he would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, Musk tweeted.
Musk had released a 24-hour poll on Friday asking users whether the former president should be reinstated.
The former president was kicked off the site following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Twitter executives said at the time that the ban was due to fears of further incitement to violence.
Trump then created his own platform called Truth Social, which he advertised as a space for conservatives and a rival to liberal media. On January 6, 2021, Twitter locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and deleted several tweets that the company said were a “serious violation” of its policies.
But with Musk now at the helm of Twitter, Trump was welcomed back to the site that propelled his political career and became a staple of his presidency.
“Without the tweets, I wouldn’t be here,” Trump told the Financial Times.
Trump has used Twitter prolifically, sometimes posting dozens of posts a day, to announce official policy, disparage his political opponents, or spread misinformation about the coronavirus or the 2020 election.
Twitter temporarily locked Trump’s campaign account for sharing a clip of ‘Fox’ & Friends” in which Trump claimed children were immune to COVID-19.
Trump celebrated Musk’s takeover of the site, which was finalized on October 27 after a months-long legal battle.
Musk initially said he would lift Trump’s permanent ban, calling him “completely stupid.” But after its acquisition, Musk said he was withholding any major content moderation or account reinstatement until a new issues committee was formed.
Trump had initially insisted he would not join the platform, repeatedly expressing his disappointment with how he had been “treated” by the company.
But Twitter, one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, undoubtedly offers the former president a wider audience. On Truth Social, he has just over 4.3 million followers, but during his time on Twitter, he amassed nearly 80 million followers.
Trump’s Truth Social platform is also facing legal issues, including a whistleblower who told the government that t Trump Media & Technology Group (the umbrella company of Truth Social) made “fraudulent claims” as it sought to raise funds.
Any changes Musk makes to Twitter’s rules and policy could also impact the race. Musk previously said Twitter unfairly infringes on free speech, leading observers to fear his leadership could lead to a proliferation of misinformation or hate speech, content that the site currently monitors and moderates.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital public square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy way, without resorting to violence. “, Musk wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “There is currently a great danger that social media will split into far-right and far-left echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”