Elon Musk reinstates Trump’s Twitter account
Elon Musk reinstated the Twitter account of former President Donald Trump on Saturday night.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, which is a Latin phrase that means “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”
Trump’s account was reinstated after Musk posted an online poll asking users on Twitter if he should unban the former president. Trump himself posted on his own social media platform urging his supporters to vote for him in the poll, which he ultimately won.
The final result was 51.8% of users voting yes and 48.2% voting no.
It appears Trump’s follower count was reset and it is unclear if they will be added back.
Trump said earlier Saturday that he would not return to Twitter if reinstated when asked about Musk’s recent poll about his banned account.
“Truth Social is through the roof, it’s doing phenomenally well,” Trump said of his own fledgling social media company. “And I’ll be staying there.”
The former president was kicked off the site in the wake of the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021. Twitter leadership said at the time the ban was due to fears of further incitement of violence.
Trump went on to create his own platform called Truth Social, which he heralded as a space for conservatives and a rival to liberal media. On Jan. 6, 2021, Twitter locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and removed several tweets that the company said were a “severe violation” of its policies.
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But with Musk now at the helm of Twitter, Trump has been welcomed back to the site that propelled his political career and became a fixture of his presidency.
“Without the tweets, I wouldn’t be here,” Trump once told the Financial Times.
Trump used Twitter prolifically, sometimes issuing dozens of posts a day, to announce official policy, disparage his political opponents or spreading misinformation about coronavirus or the 2020 election.
Twitter temporarily locked Trump’s campaign account for sharing a clip from “Fox & Friends” in which Trump claimed children were immune from COVID-19.
Trump celebrated Musk’s takeover of the site, which was finalized on Oct. 27 after a months-long legal battle.
Musk originally said he would lift the permanent ban on Trump, calling it “flat-out stupid.” But after his acquisition, Musk said he was holding off any major content moderation or account reinstatements until the formation of a new committee devoted to the issues.
Trump was originally insistent he wouldn’t rejoin the platform, repeatedly expressing disappointment over how he was “treated” by the company.
But Twitter, one of the world’s largest social media platforms, no doubt gives 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 platform, Truth Social, also faces legal issues, including a whistleblower whose claimed to the government that t Trump Media & Technology Group (the umbrella company for Truth Social) made “fraudulent misrepresentations” as it sought to raise money.
Any changes Musk makes to Twitter rules and policy could also impact the race. Musk previously said Twitter was unfairly infringing on free speech, leading observers to worry his leadership could lead to a proliferation of misinformation or hate speech, content that Twitter the site currently monitors and moderates.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”