Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, reinstates conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after online poll as Musk promotes ‘free speech’ agenda
X, formerly Twitter, has reinstated the account of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones following a poll by platform owner Elon Musk.
About 70 percent of roughly two million people voted in favour of Jones’ reinstatement. Jones had earlier shared a video urging his supporters to vote.
Jones, best known for repeatedly asserting that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a staged event designed to build support for stricter gun laws, relaunched his account by reposting a message from controversial influencer Andrew Tate, who was reinstated last year.
In the message Tate praised Jones and Musk and wrote, “We’re back.”
Jones was ordered to pay $1.5 billion (£1.2bn) in damages to family members of the Sandy Hook victims after courts found his false claims had caused them to be harassed and subjected to death threats.
Founder of the conspiracy theory website Infowars, Jones has been banned from other major social media platforms including YouTube and Facebook.
He was removed from Twitter in 2018 for breaching the site’s policies on abusive behaviour, considered at the time a permanent ban.
Since buying Twitter in October 2022 Musk has reinstated controversial figures including Donald Trump as he claims to protect free speech.
On Saturday Musk told a user he “vehemently” disagreed with Jones’ claims about Sandy Hook, but added, “Are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?”
He said the reinstatement would be “bad for X financially” but that “principles matter more than money”.
At the same time Musk has removed the accounts of prominent critics or those against whom he has a personal grievance, including software developer Travis Brown, a private jet tracking service built by Jack Sweeney, several journalists who wrote about the jet tracking account suspension, and Aaron Greenspan, founder of legal and public records database PlainSite.