After Elon Musk's posted a Twitter poll that showed around eight million votes in favor of allowing former President Donald J. Trump back on the platform, Musk tweeted "the people have spoken" Saturday night — and reinstated Trump's account despite an earlier pledge to leave reinstatements up to a content moderation "council."
Ever since Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44B, an immediate question was whether or not the increasingly right-leaning Musk would reinstate Trump's personal Twitter account, which was suspended after the January 6th riot at the Capitol. We at SFist thought it would happen even sooner, but then Musk claimed he would leave such big decisions up to an independent moderation board, a la Facebook.
The unscientific poll he used instead started on Friday garnered almost 52% of votes in favor of allowing the contentious former president back, and Trump's account went live shortly after it closed Saturday.
Reinstate former President Trump— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
"The people have spoken," Musk wrote in a Tweet announcing the poll's results. "Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei."
The people have spoken.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
Trump will be reinstated.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei. https://t.co/jmkhFuyfkv
Per the New York Times, Trump is contractually obligated to make his posts/rants/mindless and baseless opinions that fan violence available exclusively on Truth Social — the alt-tech social media platform created by Trump Media & Technology Group — for six hours before he can share them on other sites. However, Trump can post to any site immediately if those messages oscillate around "political messaging, fund-raising, or get-out-the-vote initiatives," according to the newspaper.
Trump has yet to post anything to his reactivated personal Twitter account since it went live again; the final tweet published to his profile was an announcement that he would not attend the January 8 inauguration of President Biden; Trump's Twitter account now appears in the "Profiles" section in his Google Search "About" description.
The decision to restore Trump's Twitter account comes at an inflection point in the company as both advertisers and employees have left en masse. As noted by Fortune, a former advertising sales manager who worked at Twitter before leaving last week said he and his team were flooded with questions about what Musk’s policy was on Trump’s return, with concerns from participating advertisers finding consolation in knowing that such a declaration wouldn't be made without the oversight of an independent council.
We all know how that panned out.
“I saw the question asked, especially early after the acquisition,” the sales manager said to the media outlet. “But Elon’s promise of not making decisions like that until he had convened a content moderation council before reinstating any banned users seemed to help."
Musk subsequently also reinstated the accounts of Kanye West and Marjorie Taylor Greene without taking any polls.
These are moves that not only erods trust with advertisers, potentially adding another blow to Twitter's already fragile financial condition, but leave users — at least 7,230,000 of them on the platform — uneasy and concerned for the hellscape that awaits with no proper moderation.
With Trump now having launched his campaign for the 2024 presidential election, it's an ominous fit of déjà vu that doesn't sit well with millions.
Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk along the South Lawn to Marine One as they depart from the White House for a weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago on January 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Senators are expected to debate and then vote on whether to include additional witnesses and documents today in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)