Elon Musk restores Donald Trump’s Twitter account


Elon Musk restored former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account on Saturday, a crucial move that could help what was once the platform’s loudest and most outspoken force regain online attention just as a new presidential election begins.

“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote in a tweet, nodding to the results of a just-completed Twitter poll on whether to reinstate the former president.

Trump’s account was restocked with old tweets and followers Saturday night, though the former president didn’t tweet immediately after recovering. He said he remained focused on his Twitter clone, Truth Social, on Saturday and signaled he would not return to the site immediately.

According to Musk’s unscientific and unrepresentative Twitter poll, Twitter users voted about 52 percent to 48 percent in favor of restoring Trump’s account. Musk bet several key decisions up to a vote on his Twitter feed, including last year, on whether to sell 10 percent of his Tesla stock.

Musk had previously said he disagreed with the ban and intended to restore Trump. But after buying Twitter for $44 billion late last month, he had also pledged to set up a Content Moderation Council to make such decisions – and said the process would likely take weeks.

Trump had more than 88 million followers before Twitter suspended him after Jan. 6, 2021, citing fears of violent incitement in the days after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in riots that left five dead and hundreds injured .

A former Twitter employee familiar with the account recovery process, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said it can take up to a full day for suspended accounts to be restored to their previous state.

Hundreds are said to have decided to leave Twitter because of Musk’s ultimatum

Musk’s move, minutes after completing his poll, reversed one of the most consequential decisions in Twitter history. A self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” Musk said permanent bans undermine Twitter’s role as an unrestricted haven for free speech.

The decision was immediately criticized by the NAACP, which asked advertisers to pause all promotions on the platform Saturday night.

“In Elon Musk’s Twittersphere, one can incite a riot in the US Capitol that resulted in the deaths of multiple people and still spread hate speech and violent conspiracies on his platform,” the statement read. “If Elon Musk continues to operate Twitter like this, using garbage polls that do not represent the American people and the needs of our democracy, God help us all.”

in one tweeted on the day he completed his $44 billion acquisitionMusk vowed not to make Twitter “a hellscape for everyone,” and said he bought the platform “because it’s important to the future of civilization to have a common digital marketplace where a wide range of beliefs debate.” can be done in a healthy way without using violence.”

Right-wing figures – including members of the former Trump administration and political figures allied with the former president – celebrated Musk’s decision and welcomed Trump back to the platform on Saturday night.

Trump addressed Musk’s poll and the subject of his report during a video link remark at the Republican-Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Elon Musk says he would reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter ban

He reacted coolly to the prospect of rejoining the site, echoing earlier comments that he’d rather turn his attention to his clone site, Truth Social.

“I see no reason for it,” Trump said of the return to Twitter, alluding to the social media network’s reported issues with bots and declining engagement. “Truth Social has taken the place for a lot of people and I don’t see them going back to Twitter.”

While Trump took the opportunity to promote his own website, he said he appreciates the poll and welcomes Musk’s purchase.

“I like that he bought it, I’ve always liked him,” Trump said. “He’s a character, but I tend to like characters.”

If he returns, Trump’s reinstatement early in the 2024 presidential campaign could once again solidify the platform as a hyperpolarized political battleground.

Trump used Twitter to great effect to get a handle on the news cycle and tear down opponents — not only in the years leading up to the presidential candidacy, but also during the campaign and later in the White House.

Although Trump has said he would not rejoin Twitter even if asked, some of his advisers told The Washington Post this spring that they doubt his commitment. Twitter was Trump’s most dominant megaphone, allowing him to reach an audience of tens of millions of followers with dozens of messages a day.

In Trump’s contract with Truth Social, he agreed that he would make his posts exclusively available on Truth Social for eight hours before sharing them elsewhere, The Post reported. The agreement provided exceptions for “political messaging, political fundraising, or voting efforts,” which he could do anywhere, anytime.

Musk gives employees an ultimatum: Commit to “hardcore” Twitter or accept severance pay

Researchers and activists have argued that Trump’s reinstatement will encourage rule-breakers and neutralize Twitter’s most powerful tool for reducing harassment and lying: suspending someone else’s account.

This will “open the floodgates to incredibly objectionable behavior,” said Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, who has studied disinformation.

Trump’s reinstatement, she said, will not only help the former president advance the public conversation and influence the medium of choice for journalists and news junkies. It will also help centralize a political outrage movement that has spread across smaller right-wing corners of the internet.

“This brings us back to 2020, where Trump understands the power that what he says publicly and on Twitter can cause mass hysteria,” she said. “The people he mobilized didn’t walk away. They still have a strong feeling that something is amiss in the government and they need a real savior.”

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Trump will rejoin a Twitter that looks very different from when he sent out his first tweet in 2009 to urge people to check out his brief appearance on Late Night With David Letterman.

Unlike his first time on Twitter, his audience will likely know what to expect from him. Whether he can win back his old audience remains to be seen.

Following his Twitter ban, Trump began posting messages to a largely ignored blog, which he scrapped after 29 days due to its low readership.

Trump later joined with a small team of co-founders to build a Twitter clone, Truth Social, which launched earlier this year and promised to be a “media powerhouse.”

But Trump only has 4 million followers on the site, and his messages there only get a tiny fraction of his previous Twitter exposure and reactions. The startup that runs it, Trump Media & Technology Group, has also been undermined by bitter infighting, federal investigations and rising investor unease.

Some critics expect Trump’s reinstatement could further bring down Twitter Truth Social, which has been banking on Trump’s involvement as a key differentiator in an increasingly crowded market of right-wing social networks, meme sites, and message boards.

Trump had agreed to use Truth Social exclusively and received 90 percent of the shares in the start-up. Its investment partner, Digital World Acquisition, saw its shares fall to near-record lows on Thursday amid concerns over Trump’s Twitter return.

On Truth Social, Trump has continued to lie about widespread voter fraud and shared conspiracy theories related to QAnon, the jumble of false claims that suggest Trump is leading a secret resistance against a global cabal of child-eating Satanists.

“He booed QAnon on Truth Social hoping to get mainstream media attention and just sent out all these conspiracy signals to get momentum and energy around his name,” Donovan said. “But that’s nothing new. A lot will depend on how far he’s willing to go… to get attention.”

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