Elon Musk said he would reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter Inc account. after polling users on the platform, expanding the former president’s potential reach just days after he announced a new run for the White House.
The move also underscored how Mr. Musk has become the mastermind behind all things Twitter after buying the platform for $44 billion late last month. Mr Musk previously said he would create a content council to look into account restorations.
The Twitter poll launched by Mr Musk on Friday recorded 51.8% of the vote in favor of reinstating Mr Trump’s account and 48.2% against.
“The people have spoken,” Mr Musk tweeted on Saturday night. “Trump will be restored.”
Minutes later, Mr Trump’s Twitter account was restored, although he had not tweeted. His most recent tweet was dated January 8, 2021.
Hours before the polls closed, Mr Trump, at an event, said he saw no reason to return to Twitter and would stick with the social media platform he has since created. He posted there on Saturday night to encourage followers to vote in Mr Musk’s poll “positively”, but said he planned to stay on his platform.
Mr. Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment after Mr. Musk revealed his decision.
Twitter banned Mr. Trump’s account on January 8, 2021. Prior to the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, by a mob of his supporters seeking to stop the certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory, Mr. Trump posted tweets that Twitter executives saw as inciting violence that the company said prompted the ban. Mr. Trump this week launched a third consecutive bid for the White House.
Mr Musk has described himself as an absolute champion of free speech and said Twitter generally should only intervene to comply with local laws. It has also complained that some of Twitter’s most high-profile users were no longer using the platform.
After taking over Twitter, Mr Musk said the company would “form a content moderation board with widely divergent views”. He added: “No major content decision or settlement of accounts will be made prior to the convening of this board.”
Mr Musk, who is facing upheaval on Twitter after firing half his staff and another wave of departures this week, has not said publicly whether the board had met or been formed. Mr Musk said on Friday that he had reinstated some banned accounts.
The poll garnered over 15 million votes.
The billionaire said in May, weeks after agreeing to buy Twitter, that he disagreed with the ban and would restore access to Mr Trump’s account. He called the ban “a mistake because it alienated a lot of the country and didn’t ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” while also arguing that it undermined trust in Twitter.
“I’m very happy that Twitter is now in good hands,” the former chairman told social networking platform Truth Social after Mr Musk took over the company last month. Mr Trump said Twitter would now be smaller, but better.
Mr. Musk and Mr. Trump have at times been at odds. Mr Musk quit a presidential economic advisory council during the Trump administration after the then-president said the US would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
“Climate change is real,” Mr Musk tweeted at the time.
Mr. Musk said this year that he voted Republican for the first time and that Mr. Trump should get out of politics. Mr Musk also said he was leaning towards supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSandis for president. Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, has not said whether he plans to run in 2024.
—Alex Leary contributed to this article.
Write to Alison Sider at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fixes & Enhancements
The most recent tweet on former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account since his reinstatement was dated January 8, 2021. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was dated January 8, 2001. (Corrected November 19)
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