Elon Musk tweeted Saturday night that “the people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated”.
The news came after a Musk poll on Twitter found a 51.8% majority support bringing Trump back on Twitter. Former President Donald Trump, who has vowed never to return after being banned after Jan. 6, has yet to issue a statement.
“The people have spoken” Musk tweeted moments after voting closed before 8pm on Saturday night. “Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
The @RealDonaldTrump account was visible shortly after 8:00 PM ET. His follower count was reset, but it quickly went up.
Trump̵[ads1]7;s account on Truth Social, his own social media platform, has yet to post a response.
Musk started one Twitter survey late Friday, asking followers to vote on whether to reinstate Trump’s account on the platform, with final results Saturday night showing 51.8% voted “Yes” among 15,085,458 votes.
“Vox Populi, Vox Dei” is a Latin phrase that roughly means “the voice of the people, the voice of God”. He later tweeted about 1 million people voting in the hour.
It is not clear whether Trump would actually return to Twitter. An indomitable tweeter before he was banned, Trump has previously said he would not rejoin Twitter even if his account was reinstated. He has relied on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked from Twitter.
And earlier Saturday, during a video address to a Republican Jewish group meeting in Las Vegas, Trump said he was aware of Musk’s polling but saw “a lot of problems on Twitter,” according to Bloomberg.
“I hear we’re getting a big vote to also go back on Twitter. I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason to,” Trump said, Bloomberg reported. “It can do it, it can’t make it,” he added, apparently referring to Twitter’s recent internal upheaval.
The prospect of restoring Trump’s presence on the site follows Musk’s purchase last month of Twitter — an acquisition that has sparked widespread concern that the billionaire owner will allow purveyors of lies and misinformation to flourish on the site. Musk has often expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive with freewheeling speech.
The billionaire’s efforts to redesign the site have been both swift and chaotic. Musk has laid off many of the company’s 7,500 full-time employees and countless contractors responsible for content moderation and other important tasks. His demand that the remaining employees commit to “extremely hardcore” work triggered a wave of layoffs, including hundreds of software engineers.
Users have reported seeing increased spam and scams on their feeds and in their instant messages, among other errors, in the wake of the mass layoffs and worker exodus. Some programmers who were fired or resigned this week warned that Twitter could soon be struggling so hard it might actually crash.
Trump lost access to Twitter two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol, shortly after the former president had urged them to “peacefully and patriotically” protest. Twitter suspended his account after Trump wrote a pair of tweets that the company said cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the presidential election and increased the risk of the Joe Biden presidential inauguration.
After the Jan. 6 protest, Trump was also fired by Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Meta Platforms, and Snapchat. His ability to post videos on his YouTube channel was also suspended. Facebook will reconsider Trump’s account suspension in January.
In a speech at an automotive conference in May, Musk claimed that Twitter’s ban on Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”
Earlier this month, Musk, who completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter in late October, declared that the company would not allow anyone who had been fired from the site to return until Twitter had established procedures for how to do so, including forming a ” content moderation” advice.”
Musk tweeted on Friday that the suspended Twitter accounts of comedian Kathy Griffin, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, and conservative Christian news satire website Babylon Bee had been reinstated. He added that a decision on Trump has not yet been made. He also said “no” when someone on Twitter asked him to reinstate conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account.
In a tweet on Friday, the Tesla CEO described the company’s new content policy as “freedom of speech, but not reach.”
He explained that a tweet deemed to be “negative” or to include “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 no ads or other revenue for Twitter,” Musk said.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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