Twitter: Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump’s account

Elon Musk reinstated former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account on Saturday after asking users to vote. The move comes weeks after the billionaire sealed his deal to buy Twitter and nearly two years after the turmoil at the Capitol prompted the social network to ban Trump.

Highlights

  • More than 15 million Twitter users voted in a poll in which Musk asked if Trump should be allowed back on the platform, with 51.8% upvoting.
  • After concluding the poll, the Twitter CEO said, “The people have spoken. Trump will be brought back.”
  • The identifier @realDonaldTrump of the former president and his old tweets — including ones that made false statements about the election — have been restored, but he hasn’t posted anything new.
  • Mr Trump’s follower count appears to have reset and stood at 9.2 million at the time of reporting, down from 88 million before his ban.
  • Trump has not acknowledged his return, but earlier Saturday he encouraged his supporters to vote in Musk’s poll, while not saying whether he would be active on the platform again, saying he saw “a lot of problems on Twitter.” .
  • Trump’s re-entry into Twitter comes just days after he announced a 2024 presidential bid.

Main criticism

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt immediately criticized Musk’s decision to restore Trump’s Twitter account: “For Elon Musk to allow Donald Trump back on Twitter, apparently after a short poll , shows he is not serious about protecting the platform. against hate, harassment and misinformation… Trump has used Twitter to incite intolerance, issue threats and incite violent attacks in the US government. Moreover, he has shown no indication that he would do anything different if given the chance. Musk responded in a tweet: “Hey stop slandering me! to Mr. Greenblatt.

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Reinstating Trump’s account following a Twitter poll is Musk’s latest U-turn from a previously announced plan. After acquiring Twitter late last month, Musk promised to set up a moderation board made up of “very diverse viewpoints” to advise the company on content and account reinstatement decisions. Musk also tweeted earlier this month that he had spoken with several civil society leaders, including Mr. ADL’s Greenblatt, on how to fight hate and harassment on Twitter.

Follow up

With his account restored to a bigger platform, all eyes are on the former president. He has repeatedly said that he has no interest in returning to Twitter, as he wants to stick to his own Truth Social platform. But the former president only got 4.58 million followers on Truth Social, while he reached 88 million on Twitter. In October, the Truth Social app was downloaded 100,000 times from Apple’s App Store, while Twitter saw 11 million downloads during the same period, according to SensorTower. Despite his promises to stick with Truth Social, the opportunity to engage with a wider audience on Twitter may be hard to resist.

Basic Context

Trump was permanently banned from Twitter following the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, with the platform citing “the risk of further inciting violence.” The reinstatement of Trump’s account is not surprising. Musk hinted at the possibility months ago, calling the ban “morally wrong.” While discussing the deal on Twitter, Musk exchanged texts with former CEO Parag Agrawal in which he indicated that he intended to reinstate all accounts that had been permanently banned, except for spam accounts and those that “openly promote violence.” . Removing the bans is part of the billionaire’s vision to make Twitter a haven for “free speech.” A day earlier, Musk reinstated the banned accounts of comedian Kathy Griffin, Jordan Peterson and the Babylon Bee.

Significant number

134 million. That’s how many people looked at the poll to back Donald Trump’s account, Musk said. If these numbers are correct, that means more than half of Twitter’s active users participated in the survey.

Tangent

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp – the blank check company that agreed to acquire Truth Social and take it public – fell 2.25% after Donald Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Siladitya Ray

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