Musk: ‘People Have Spoken; Trump Will Be Reinstated; Vox Populi vox dei’
Elon Musk tweeted Saturday night that “the people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated.”
The news came after a Musk poll on Twitter poll found a 51.8% majority supporting bring Trump back on Twitter. Former President Donald Trump, who has vowed never to return after he was banned after Jan. 6, has yet to make a statement.
“The people have spoken,” Musk tweeted moments after the poll closed before 8 p.m. Saturday night. “Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
Tea @RealDonaldTrump account was viewable shortly after 8 p.m. ET. His follower count was reset, but it was quickly adding up.
Trump’s account on Truth Social, his own social media platform, has yet to post a response.
Musk started a Twitter poll late Friday, asking followers to vote on whether to reinstate Trump’s account on the platform, with Saturday night final results showing 51.8% voting “Yes” among 15,085,458 votes.
“Vox Populi, Vox Dei” is a Latin phrase that roughly means “the voice of the people, the voice of God.” He later tweeted about 1 million people were voting per hour.
It is not clear whether Trump would actually return to Twitter. An irrepressible tweeter before he was banned, Trump has said in the past that he would not rejoin Twitter even if his account was reinstated. He has been relying on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked from Twitter.
And earlier Saturday, during a video speech to a Republican Jewish group meeting in Las Vegas, Trump said he was aware of Musk’s poll but he saw “a lot of problems at Twitter,” according to Bloomberg.
“I hear we’re getting a big vote to also go back on Twitter. I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason for it,” Trump said, Bloomberg reported. “It may make it, it may not make it,” he added, apparently referring to Twitter’s recent internal upheavals.
The prospect of restoring Trump’s presence to the site follows Musk’s purchase last month of Twitter — an acquisition that has fanned widespread concern that the billionaire owner will allow purveyors of lies and misinformation to flourish on the site. Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive of freewheeling speech.
The billionaire’s efforts to reshape the site have been both swift and chaotic. Musk has fired many of the company’s 7,500 full-time workers and an unknown number of contractors who are responsible for content moderation and other crucial responsibilities. His demand that remaining employees pledge to “extremely hardcore” work triggered a wave of resignations, including hundreds of software engineers.
Users have reported seeing increased spam and scams on their feeds and in their direct messages, among other glitches, in the aftermath of the mass layoffs and worker exodus. Some programmers who were fired or resigned this week warned that Twitter may soon fray so badly it could actually crash.
Trump lost his access to Twitter two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol, soon after the former president had urged them to “peacefully and patriotically” to protest. Twitter dropped his account after Trump wrote a pair of tweets that the company said cast further doubts on the legitimacy of the presidential election and raised risks for the Joe Biden presidential inauguration.
After the Jan. 6 protest, Trump was also kicked off Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta Platforms, and Snapchat. His ability to post videos to his YouTube channel was also suspended. Facebook is set to reconsider Trump’s account suspension in January.
In a speech at an auto conference in May, Musk asserted Twitter’s ban of Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”
Earlier this month, Musk, who completed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter in late October, declared the company would not let anyone who had been kicked off the site return until Twitter had established procedures on how to do so, including forming a “content moderation council.”
Musk tweeted Friday that the suspended Twitter accounts for the comedian Kathy Griffin, the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, and the conservative Christian news satire website Babylon Bee had been reinstated. He added a decision on Trump had not yet been made. He also responded “no” when someone on Twitter asked him to reinstate the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account.
In a tweet Friday, the Tesla CEO described the company’s new content policy as “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”
He explained a tweet deemed to be “negative” or to include “hate” would be allowed on the site but would be visible only to users who specifically searched for it. Such tweets also would be “demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter,” Musk said.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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