Former US President Donald Trump announces that he will again run for US President in the 2024 US presidential election during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, November 15, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Donald Trump said on Saturday he was not interested in returning to Twitter, even as a slim majority voted to reinstate the former US president, who was banned from the social networking service for inciting violence, in a poll organized by the new owner Elon Musk.
Just over 15 million Twitter users voted in the poll with 51.8% voting in favor of the rollback.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted.
Trump’s Twitter account, which had more than 88 million followers before it was blocked on Jan. 8, 2021, began gaining followers and had nearly 100,000 followers by 10 p.m. ET Saturday.
Some users initially reported that they were unable to follow the restored account on Saturday afternoon. Trump had appeared less fervent earlier in the day. “I don’t see any reason for it,” the former president said via video when asked if he planned to return to Twitter by a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.
He said he would stick with his new platform Truth Social, the app developed by startup Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which he said had better user engagement than Twitter and was doing “extremely well.” Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump, who on Tuesday launched a bid to retake the White House in 2024, praised Musk and said he had always liked him. But Trump also said Twitter suffered from bots, fake accounts and that the problems it faced were “unbelievable”.
Musk first said in May that he planned to overturn Trump’s ban, and the timing of any return by Trump has been closely watched — and feared — by many of Twitter’s advertisers.
The billionaire has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision would be made in consideration of a content moderation board made up of people with “very diverse views” and that no account relocations would take place before the board meets.
He also said that Twitter will not reinstate any banned users until there is a “clear process for doing so.” But this week, Musk reinstated comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been banned for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk,” which violated his new anti-impersonation rule without indicating it was a parody account. There is no new information about the process or the coordination board.
There is no reason to return
Trump’s no-show could ease concerns among major advertisers, who are already reeling from Musk’s drastic overhaul of Twitter. He cut the workforce in half and severely reduced the company’s trust and security team, which is responsible for preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content.
Those actions and Musk’s tweet prompted major companies to halt advertising on the site as they monitor how the platform handles hate speech.
On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Twitter could lay off more employees in its sales and partnerships divisions, citing unnamed sources, days after a mass resignation of engineers.
If Trump were to return to Twitter, the move would raise questions about his commitment to Truth Social, which launched on Apple’s App Store in February and Google’s Play Store in October.
Trump has about 4.57 million followers on Truth Social. Truth Social has been Trump’s primary source of direct communication with his followers since he began posting regularly on the app in May. He has used Truth Social to promote his allies, criticize his opponents and defend his reputation amid legal scrutiny from state, congressional and federal investigators. His deal with the company, however, opens the door for Trump to engage extensively on other platforms.
Trump is required to give Truth Social a six-hour exclusivity on any post — but is free to post “political messages, political fundraising or get-out-the-vote efforts” on any site at any time, according to an SEC filing on May. .