Elon Musk has reinstated Donald Trump’s account on Twitter, nearly two years after the former United States president was banned from the social media platform for inciting violence.
Trump’s account reappeared on Twitter on Saturday after Musk, the platform’s new owner, ran a poll on the social media site that showed narrow support for allowing Trump to return.
More than 15 million people voted in the poll asking whether Trump’s account should be reinstated, with a slim majority of 51.8 percent voting in favour.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted.
But Trump said earlier on Saturday that he had no interest in returning to the platform.
“I don’t see any reason for it,” the former president said via video when asked whether he planned to return to Twitter by a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.
The people have spoken.
Trump will be reinstated.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei. https://t.co/jmkhFuyfkv
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
Trump said he would stick with his new platform Truth Social, the app developed by his Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) start-up, which he said had better user engagement than Twitter and was doing “phenomenally well”.
Trump, who on Tuesday launched a bid to regain the White House in 2024, also praised Musk and said he had always liked him.
But the former president also said Twitter suffered from bots, fake accounts and that the problems it faced were “incredible”.
Musk first said in May he planned to reverse the ban on Trump, and the timing of any return by the former president was closely watched — and feared — by many of Twitter’s advertisers.
Musk has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision would be made with consideration by a content moderation council composed of people with “widely diverse viewpoints”, and no account reinstatements would happen before the council convened.
He also said Twitter would not reinstate any banned users until there was a “clear process for doing so”.
This week, Musk reinstated comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been banned for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk”, which violated his new rule against impersonation without indicating it was a parody account.
There has been no new information about the process for reinstatement or the moderation council.
If Trump does not return to Twitter, it could reduce concerns among major advertisers, who are already rattled by Musk’s drastic reshaping of the platform.
He has halved the workforce and severely cut the company’s trust and safety team, which is responsible for preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content.
These actions and Musk’s tweeting have pushed big companies to halt advertising on the site as they monitor how the platform handles hate speech.
On Saturday, Bloomberg reported Twitter could fire more employees in its sales and partnership divisions, citing unnamed sources, just days after a mass resignation of engineers.