The Twitter account of former US President Donald Trump has been restored on the platform.
The account, which was banned by Twitter following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, came after Twitter Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted a poll on Friday night asking the platform’s users whether they should reinstate Trump. was restored.
“People have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, tweeted Saturday night. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
The final poll on Saturday night showed 51.8 percent in favor and 48.2 percent against. The vote included 15 million ballots.
The much-anticipated decision by a new owner sets the stage for the former president to return to the social media platform, where he was once the most influential user, despite controversy, with nearly 90 million followers and tweets often pushing markets, sets the news cycle and drives the agenda in Washington.
Trump has previously said he would continue to use his platform, Truth Social, rather than rejoin Twitter, but his change of 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 just the second commander-in-chief ever to be elected to two non-consecutive terms.
Asked on Saturday for his thoughts on Musk’s purchase of Twitter and his own future on the platform, Trump praised Musk but questioned whether the site could survive the current crisis.
“They have a lot of problems,” Trump said at a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas. “You look at what’s going on. It may or may not work.”
Still, Trump said he likes Musk and “likes what he bought (Twitter).”
“He’s a character, and I tend to like characters,” the former president said of Musk. “But he’s smart.”
The fact that Twitter has been central to Trump’s presidency throughout his White House tenure has also benefited the company in the form of countless hours of user engagement. Twitter often took a lighthearted approach to managing his account, sometimes arguing that, as a public official, the then-president had to have a lot of say.
But as Trump’s term drew to a close — and he increasingly tweeted misinformation alleging election fraud — the balance shifted. The company began putting warning labels on his tweets in an attempt to correct his misleading statements ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The platform banned him indefinitely following the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“After carefully reviewing recent tweets and related content from the @realDonaldTrump account, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence,” Twitter said at the time. “In the context of this week’s horrific events , we made clear on Wednesday that additional violations of Twitter’s rules may lead us to take this action.”
The decision came after two tweets from Trump that, according to Twitter, violated the company’s policy against the glorification of violence. Twitter said at the time that the tweets “must be read in the context of broader events happening in the country, and the ways in which the president’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including incitement to violence, and the account’s pattern of behavior in recent weeks. ”
The first tweet — a statement about Trump supporters whom he called “the 75 million great American patriots who voted for me” — suggested that “he plans to continue supporting, empowering and protecting those who believe he won the election.” people,” Twitter had said.
The second, indicating that he does not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, could be considered a further statement that the election is illegitimate, and could be interpreted as Trump saying the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not attend , according to Twitter.
Shortly after Trump’s Twitter ban, he was also restricted from using Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, which could also restore his account as soon as January 2023.
On November 18, Musk tweeted that he had reinstated several controversial accounts on the platform, but “has not yet made a Trump decision.”
“The new Twitter policy is free speech, but not free contact,” he said at the time. “Negative/hateful tweets will be minimized and demonetized, so Twitter has no advertising or other revenue. You won’t find this tweet unless you’re looking for it, no different than the rest of the internet .”
Musk has previously said that he disagrees with Twitter’s permanent ban policy and can return other accounts that have been removed from the platform for repeated violations of the rules.
“I do think it’s not right to ban Donald Trump; I think it’s a mistake,” Musk said at a meeting in May, promising to reverse the ban on him having to become 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 the ban should not be permanent. He said banning the former president was a “business decision” and “should not have been done”.