Musk Reinstates Donald Trump Twitter Account

Twitter has reinstated the account of former US president Donald Trump after an online poll conducted by new owner Elon Musk came out narrowly in favour of the move.

While acknowledging the poll had been influenced by automated bots, Musk declared that “the people have spoken”, with 51.8 percent of more than 15 million votes for lifting the ban.

Trump’s account reappeared over the weekend but as of Monday morning he had not posted on it.

Image credit: SpaceX

‘Incitement of violence’

The ex-president’s most recent post is from 8 January, 2021, saying he would not be attending the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden.

Trump’s accounts on multiple social media platforms were revoked after rioters invaded the US Capitol building on 6 January of that year.

Twitter said at the time that Trump had violated its guidelines and that there was risk of “further incitement of violence”.

There are questions over whether Trump will return to Twitter, as he has repeatedly claimed he wouldn’t do so if given the opportunity.

Truth Social

“I don’t see any reason for it,” he told a conference on Saturday.

A US regulatory filing in May by the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which operates Trump’s own social media network Truth Social, said Trump may make posts from other social media accounts related to political messaging, but was “general obligated” to use Truth Social.

Trump is also contractually obliged to wait six hours before reposting a message from Truth Social to another platform.

However, Truth Social is estimated to have a fraction of the user base of Twitter and Trump urged his Truth Social followers to take part in the vote over reinstating him.

Musk also reinstated the acounts of US rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and British-American former kickboxer Andrew Tate, who were both banned for breaking hate speech rules.

Content practices

A number of high-profile advertisers have suspended advertising with Twitter due to concerns about what Musk’s content policies will be.

Musk said last week he was experimenting with a policy of “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach” that would see hate speech deboosted and demonetised, with no ads appearing alongside it.

“You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of internet,” he said in a tweet.

However, Twitter is legally obliged to remove illegal hate speech under laws in jurisdictions including the UK and the EU, and Musk has reportedly told EU regulators he will abide by those rules.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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