Trump on Musk letting him tweet again: Twitter ‘may fail’

Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump’s Twitter account on Saturday, lifting a ban that has kept the former president from operating the social media site since a pro-Trump mob attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, as Congress prepared to certified Joe Biden election victory.

Musk made the announcement in the evening after conducting a poll that asked Twitter users to click “yes” or “no” on whether Trump’s account should be reinstated. The yes vote won with 51.8%. Musk previously said Twitter would create new procedures and a “content moderation board” before making decisions about restoring suspended accounts.

“People have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, using a Latin expression meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”

Shortly thereafter, Trump’s account, which previously appeared to be suspended, reappeared on the platform along with his previous tweets, more than 59,000 of them. His followers were gone, at least initially, but he quickly began to regain them. However, there were no new tweets from the account by the end of Saturday.

Musk reinstated the account less than a month after the Tesla CEO took control of Twitter and four days after Trump announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race.

It’s unclear whether Trump will actually return to Twitter. An unstoppable tweeter before he was banned, Trump has said in the past that he would not rejoin even if his account was reinstated. He relies on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked by Twitter.

“Too much trouble on Twitter”

And on Saturday, during a video address to a meeting of a Republican Jewish group in Las Vegas, Trump said he was aware of Musk’s polling but that he saw “a lot of problems on Twitter.”

“I hear we’re getting a big vote to bring Twitter back. I don’t see it because I don’t see a reason for it,” Trump said. “It might work, it might not work,” he added, apparently referring to recent internal Twitter upheaval.

The prospect of Trump restoring a presence on the platform follows Musk’s purchase of Twitter last month, an acquisition that fueled widespread concern that the billionaire owner would allow purveyors of lies and misinformation to thrive on the site. Musk has often expressed his belief that Twitter has become too restrictive of free speech.

His efforts to redesign the site have been swift and chaotic. Musk has fired many of the company’s 7,500 full-time employees and countless contractors who are responsible for content moderation and other important responsibilities. His demand that other employees commit to “extremely demanding” work prompted a wave of resignations, including hundreds of software engineers.

Users reported seeing increased spam and scams in their feeds and in their direct messages, among other issues, following the massive layoffs and exodus of workers. Some programmers who have been fired or resigned this week have warned that Twitter could soon fall apart so badly that it actually collapses.

of Musk online surveyposted on his own Twitter account, attracted more than 15 million votes in the 24 hours it took place.

Musk admitted that the results were hardly scientific. “Bot and troll armies may soon run out,” he tweeted on Saturday morning. “Some interesting lessons for cleaning up future polls.”

It’s not the first time he’s used Twitter polls to make business decisions. Last year, he sold millions of shares of his Tesla stock after asking his followers if he should.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York responded to Musk’s Trump poll by tweeting a video of the riot on Jan. 6. She tweeted Friday that when Trump was last on Twitter, it “was used to incite a riot, many people died, the vice president of the United States was almost killed, and hundreds were injured, but I guess that this is not enough to answer a question. This is a Twitter poll.

Trump lost access to Twitter two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol, soon after the former president urged them to “fight the hell out.” Twitter suspended his account after Trump wrote two tweets that the company said cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the presidential election and raised the stakes for Biden’s inauguration as president.

After the January 6 attack, Trump was also kicked out of Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta Platforms and Snapchat. His ability to post videos on his YouTube channel was also suspended. Facebook will review Trump’s suspension in January.

During his tenure as president, Trump’s use of social media has posed a significant challenge to major social media platforms, which have sought to balance the public’s interest in hearing from government officials with concerns about misinformation, bigotry, harassment and incitement to violence.

But in a speech at an automotive conference in May, Musk said Twitter’s ban on Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “ultimately stupid.”

Earlier this month, Musk, who completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter in late October, announced that the company would not allow anyone who had been kicked off the site to return until Twitter established procedures for how to did, including the formation of a “content moderation board.”

On Friday, Musk tweeted that the suspended Twitter accounts of comedian Kathy Griffin, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and conservative Christian satire news site Babylon Bee had been reinstated. He added that no decision has yet been made on Trump. He also said no when someone on Twitter asked him to restore the account of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

In a tweet on Friday, Tesla’s CEO described the company’s new content policy as “freedom of speech, but not freedom of access.”

He explained that a tweet deemed “negative” or involving “hate” would be allowed on the site, but would only be visible to users who specifically searched for it. Such tweets will also be “demonetized, so there’s no advertising or other revenue for Twitter,” Musk said.

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