Musk didn’t want to reactivate accounts until an advisory board was formed. According to a survey, he is already allowing Trump to return.
SAN FRANCISCO dpa | Twitter has the account blocked since the beginning of 2021 restored by ex-President Donald Trump. The Republican’s profile was back on the platform Saturday night (local time) — with his most recent tweet, dated Jan. 8, 2021, at the top. A few minutes earlier, the new Twitter owner Elon Musk had announced the activation after a survey among users of the short message service. Trump had confirmed shortly before the survey deadline that he wanted to stay with his own Twitter copy Truth Social.
Trump’s account, which once had more than 80 million followers on Twitter, has had its subscriber count reset to zero. Within minutes of going live, the @realDonaldTrump profile was followed by more than a million Twitter users. At Truth Social, Trump has just over four million subscribers. The Republican ex-president had just announced that he was running for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election – and could therefore use a larger platform with more reach.
“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote of his decision. However, the survey was not representative: around 15 million users took part in Musk’s 24-hour survey, while the service has more than 230 million daily active users according to the latest available information. A narrow majority of 51.8 percent voted in favor of Trump’s return.
Trump has been banned from Twitter since January 2021. On January 6, he expressed sympathy for his supporters who stormed the Capitol – the seat of the US Parliament in Washington. There, Joe Biden’s election victory was to be officially sealed. Because of the attack, this didn’t happen until hours later.
Trump said he did not want to return
Trump had fed false expectations among his supporters that Vice President Mike Pence could refuse to confirm the election results that day. During the attack, Trump tweeted that Pence didn’t have the courage to do the right thing. Afterward, people in the crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” Twitter interpreted Trump’s behavior as a call for violence and permanently suspended his account because it wasn’t the first violation.
The offensive tweets from January 6th are missing from the unlocked profile. Trump’s refuted claims about the presidential election allegedly being stolen from him by Joe Biden continue to come with cautionary tales.
Until Musk took over, Twitter executives had always said that there was no way for the ex-president to return. Musk, who recently acknowledged the political positions of Trump’s Republicans, had emphasized months ago that from his point of view the service was good no lifetime bans should. He specifically mentioned Trump as an an example. Three weeks ago, however, Musk announced that before restoring significant accounts, a council would be formed to deal with controversial content. This now seems obsolete.
Trump himself has said repeatedly that he does not want to return to Twitter. He likes it much better with his own copy of Twitter, Truth Social. On Saturday, too, he recommended that his followers take part in the survey, but wrote: “We’re not going anywhere. Truth Social is special!” Facebook, where Trump has also been blocked since January 2021, wants to decide next January whether the ex-president could be offered a return.