Eccentric billionaire and now Chief Twit Elon Musk has reversed a previous decision by Twitter executives to ban former US President Donald Trump from the short-form social media platform following the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.
Musk claimed that it was the people who spoke in Trump’s favor, citing the results of a poll he posted on the platform on Friday, November 17th, asking users if Trump was worth reinstating. The poll garnered fifteen million votes, 51.8% of which called for Trump’s reinstatement.
Trump is just one of several controversial accounts that Musk has returned to the platform since he took over Twitter. According to the mogul, Twitter will now operate on a new policy centering on freedom of speech as opposed to freedom of reach. That said, the current roster of reinstated accounts includes those of controversial Canadian podcaster Jordan Peterson, abrasive comedienne Kathy Griffin, and the right-wing satire site Babylon Bee.
Indeed, earlier this year, Musk declared at a conference that then-CEO Jack Dorsey and his team were wrong to ban Trump and swore that he would rescind the ban if he ever ended up owning the social media platform. Musk had long been a critic of Twitter’s permanent ban policy and it is expected that, along with Trump’s and others’, he may bring back a number of other accounts that have been banned or suspended due to repeated violations of the platform’s policies.
A Slew of Sweeping Changes
The reinstatement of Trump’s account is just the latest in a number of changes that Musk has made to Twitter since he finalized the deal to purchase it.
Since taking over, he has driven out practically the whole of the company’s C-level executives and a sizable number of its staff, many of whom are not willing to hunker down to the mogul’s demand for them to work longer hours as a way to boost productivity and profitability.
Indeed, most of Musk’s decisions seem to be backfiring on him. His drive to let users pay monthly rates to get a blue verification mark was almost immediately made the butt of jokes by pranksters who abused the privilege to impersonate government agencies and major businesses. Twitter has suspended the verification service as of press time.
Likewise, the mogul’s stance on free and unbridled speech has rubbed many people the wrong way. For example, Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, called upon advertisers still active on the platform to stop all promotional activity.
In an official statement, Johnson declared that Twitter under Musk could be used to incite rebellions without censure; and that users could freely use it to promote hate and conspiracy theories that would be detrimental to all.