Former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has returned to the platform.
The account, which Twitter suspended after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, was reinstated after Twitter CEO and new owner Elon Musk posted a poll on Twitter Friday night asking the platform’s users whether Trump should be reinstated.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be back,” 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% in favor and 48.2% against. The poll included 15 million votes.
The long-awaited decision by the new owner sets the stage for the former president’s return to the social media platform, where he was previously the most influential, if controversial, user with almost 90 million followers and tweets that often moved the markets, the news. cycle and led the agenda in Washington.
Trump has previously said he would remain on his platform, Truth Social, rather than rejoin 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 non-consecutive terms.
Asked Saturday what he thought of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and his future on the platform, Trump praised Musk but questioned whether 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 might work, it might not.”
Still, Trump said he liked Musk and “liked that he bought (Twitter.).”
“He’s a character and I like characters,” the former president said of Musk. “But he’s smart.”
Throughout Trump’s tenure in the White House, Twitter was central to his presidency, a fact that also benefited the company in the form of countless hours of user engagement. Twitter often took a light-hearted approach to moderating his account, sometimes arguing that as a public official, the then-president should be given wide freedom to speak.
But as Trump neared the end of his term — and increasingly tweeted misinformation alleging election fraud — the balance shifted. The company began applying warning labels to his tweets in an effort to correct his misleading claims ahead of the 2020 presidential election. And after the US Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, the platform banned him indefinitely .
“After closely reviewing recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further inciting violence,” Twitter said at the time. “In the context of the horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules may result in this course of action.”
The decision followed 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 the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by various audiences, including incitement to violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”
The first tweet — a statement to Trump’s 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 he won the election “, said Twitter. .
The second, which indicated that he did not plan to attend 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 target ” sure” of the violence because he will not participate, according to Twitter.
Shortly after Trump’s Twitter ban, he was also banned from Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, which could also reinstate his accounts in January 2023.
On November 18, Musk tweeted that he had reinstated some controversial accounts on the platform, but that a “decision by Trump has yet to be made.”
“The new policy on Twitter is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” he said at the time. “Negative/hateful tweets will be deboosted and demonetized to the max, so no advertising or other revenue on Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically look for it, which is no different than the rest of the web.”
Musk had previously said he disagreed with Twitter’s permanent ban policy, and could also bring back other accounts that had 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, vowing to overturn the ban if he became the company’s owner.
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. The former president’s ban, he said, was a “business decision” and “shouldn’t have been.”
NAACP President Derrick Johnson called on advertisers still funding Twitter to immediately stop all ad purchases.
“In Elon Musk’s Twitter-sphere, you can instigate an uprising in the US Capitol, which led to many deaths, and still be allowed to spread hate speech and violent conspiracies on his platform.” Johnson said in a statement. “If Elon Musk continues to run Twitter like this, using garbage polls that do not represent the American people and the needs of our democracy, God help us all.”