Donald Trump is back on Twitter thanks to Elon Musk

Donald Trump is allowed to return to his perennial social media app of choice: Twitter.

Twitter’s new CEO and owner Elon Musk announced the decision in a tweet on Saturday night, in a reversal of the former president’s company’s previous outright suspension. The decision comes just days after Trump announced his candidacy for president in the 2024 election.

Musk’s tweet followed a poll he had posted on Twitter on Friday saying, “Bring back former President Trump” that allowed users to vote “Yes” or “No.” At the time Musk announced his decision, about 52 percent of the 15 million who took part in his poll voted to reinstate Trump and 48 percent voted against.

Trump’s account became active soon after Musk’s announcement and his tweets became visible again. As of Saturday night, Trump had not posted any new tweets.

Twitter previously permanently banned Trump in early 2021 following accusations that the former president encouraged violence during the January 6 Capitol riot. The company cited the “risk of further inciting violence” for its ban.

Musk’s decision is one that is sure to be as polarizing as Trump himself. While many conservatives will welcome Trump’s return to Twitter, others see it as a threat to democracy given his past behavior on the platform. The decision also demonstrates the unique power Musk has over a major social media platform.

Musk initially said he would reinstate Trump when he was still negotiating a deal to buy the company in May 2021. However, he has since said he would wait to reinstate any major accounts until he created a “content oversight” advisory board. There have been no announcements of such a board, and it now appears that Musk is not following through with that plan.

Trump has previously said he wouldn’t return to Twitter if given the chance, preferring to stay with Truth Social, the social networking app he founded in February. But there is reason to be skeptical about it. Trump has tens of millions more Twitter followers: 88 million at his peak on Twitter versus less than 4 million on Truth Social in September. Twitter may also offer a better ability to reach not only their fans but also their haters.

“It could be the fox in the henhouse again,” Katie Harbath, a social media policy consultant and former public policy officer at Facebook, told Recode. “Twitter is the place you want to be to needle people who don’t support.”

Musk’s decision could also make it easier for other major social media platforms, such as Facebook, to reinstate Trump. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, had said it would review whether Trump posed an immediate risk of violence in January 2023.

In the months since Trump was banned from Twitter, there has been a sharp drop in the number of people talking about him on major social media platforms. Now, as Trump returns to the platform, it remains to be seen whether the former president can capture the attention he once had.

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