Elon Musk Restores Former President Donald Trump’s Twitter Account


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, announced Saturday that former President Donald Trump will be allowed to return to the social media platform, nearly two years after the company suspended him, citing his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

The platform’s CEO announced the decision on Saturday night after allowing his Twitter followers and other they vote if they reinstate the former president, with almost 52% of those weighing in favor of Trump’s return. The Twitter poll registered more than 15 million votes.

“The people have spoken,” Must tweeted Saturday night. “Trump will be reinstated.”

Trump’s account returned shortly thereafter.

Musk’s move is easily the most anticipated since he took control of Twitter on October 27. It comes four days after Trump announced that he would run for president in 2024.

Twitter was instrumental in Trump’s political rise, allowing him to broadcast his thoughts, taunts and insults to millions of fans and critics without the filter of mainstream media or anyone else. Around 2011, he began using Twitter to falsely claim that then-President Barack Obama was not born in the US, and later, as president, he used Twitter to fire cabinet officials and threaten North Korea. . He also tweeted or retweeted a variety of false and misleading statements, from Antifa conspiracy theories to fake Covid treatments. On other occasions, he used his account to attack his critics, media, Democrats and Republicans who weren’t loyal enough.

Trump had 88.8 million followers on Twitter when the company banned it.

The move signals a new direction for Twitter, which in recent years has shifted from embracing full freedom of expression to taking more aggressive action against abuse, harassment, misinformation and calls for violence. Musk has said he will loosen Twitter’s rules, though tweeted shortly after the acquisition that the platform “obviously cannot become a hell of free-for-all. …”

Trump’s return also comes at a time of heightened expectations that he and other Republicans are ready to renew misleading or false claims of voter fraud, which Trump used to tweet before losing his account. The decision to welcome Trump carries a risk for Musk, putting him in a position where he can be blamed for Trump’s future behavior and any potential calls for violence.

It was not immediately clear how often Trump might use his old account. He told Fox News in April that even if Musk was successful in buying Twitter, he would not return and would instead remain on his own social media app, Truth Social.

Trump remains suspended from other major online platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Musk, the world’s richest person according to Bloomberg News, had anticipated Trump’s invitation to return in May, a month after he offered to buy Twitter, when he called the ouster “morally wrong and completely stupid.”

Twitter users have fiercely debated Trump’s absence. It repeatedly tested the limits of Twitter’s rules over the years, and in 2018 the company forged an exception to ensure “world leaders” could do whatever they wanted without being banned. On the other hand, Trump is the main figure of the Republican Party and his absence on Twitter has meant that the service does not accurately reflect the reality of American politics.

Musk fell in the second field.

“I think the permabans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a public square where everyone can have their say,” he told a Financial Times conference in May.

Twitter and most of the tech industry blocked Trump’s accounts during the violence on January 6, 2021, saying he had violated their terms of service and posed a threat to public safety.

In a taunt, Trump tweeted that afternoon that “Mike Pence did not have the courage to do what he should have done to protect our country and our Constitution” and “America Demands the Truth!” The tweet came minutes after his supporters walked through the Capitol gates.

Twitter interpreted those statements and others as violations of its “civic integrity.” politicscast announced Trump’s suspension at 7:02 p.m. ET on January 6:

“If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked. …Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Threats of Violence policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

The San Francisco-based company announced two days later, on January 8, that it would make Trump’s suspension permanent. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, then the company’s CEO, later defended the decision, citing the possibility of offline harm.

“After clear warning that we would be taking this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical security both inside and outside of Twitter,” Dorsey said then.

At the time, one consideration was that Trump could use social media during his final two weeks in office to further provoke violence, a danger that alarmed even many free speech advocates.

Twitter and Trump fed back to each other for years before the ban. Twitter gave Trump easy access to millions of people and a largely free pass for breaking his rules, while Trump drew constant attention to a service often overshadowed by larger platforms like Instagram and YouTube.

Twitter, founded in 2006, had its first profitable quarter at the end of 2017 while Trump was president.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has left open the possibility of Trump rejoining as soon as January 7, two years after suspending him. The company said it would call on experts “to assess whether the risk to public safety has diminished.”

“If we determine that a serious risk to public safety still exists, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to reassess until the risk has abated,” Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of global affairs, said in a post from blog last year.

Clegg’s statement came after the Oversight Board, a quasi-independent body funded by Meta, criticized the idea of ​​an indefinite suspension.

Susan Wojcicki, chief executive of Google’s YouTube subsidiary, said the video site would lift Trump’s suspension “when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased.”


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