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dated: 2022-11-20 15:36:31 .
Elon Musk has reactivated Donald Trump’s Twitter account after users of the social media platform narrowly overturned the ban on the former US president.
Trump’s account was suspended in 2021 after the riot at the Capitol on January 6, e.g Violation of Twitter rules and because of the danger of “further incitement to violence”.
Account went live on Sunday, though the former president has yet to post to his more than 70 million followers. His last tweet was on January 8, 2021, in which he stated that he would not be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
Trump didn’t seem interested in returning to Twitter when he addressed the issue on Saturday. “I see no reason for that,” the former president said via video when asked about it by a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.
He said he would stick with his new platform, Truth Social, which is being developed by his startup Trump Media and Technology Group.
Last week, Trump announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and praised Musk, saying he had always liked him. Despite this, Trump also said that Twitter was suffering from bots and fake accounts and that the problems it was facing were “unbelievable”.
Musk, Twitter’s new owner, announced the move after a poll on his own account garnered more than 15 million votes, with 51.8% in favor of returning.
Shortly after taking over Twitter last month, Tesla’s CEO said no decisions would be made about reposting until a newly announced “Content Moderation Council” met, later adding that the bans would not be lifted until there was one “give a clear procedure for this” .
During the poll, Musk admitted that the vote count was being influenced by automated bots, not controlled by humans, and suggested cleaning up Twitter polls from the influence of an “army of bots and trolls”.
Armies of bots and trolls may soon run out of power. Some interesting lessons for cleaning up future polls.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
Twitter banned Trump after January. 6 attacks last year, saying his posts “will most likely encourage and inspire people to repeat the criminal acts that took place in the US Capitol.” Trump was also banned from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube following the rebellion.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), America’s leading civil rights organization, called on all advertisers still funding Twitter to stop spending immediately after Trump’s return to office.
The account of the British-American kickboxer Andrew Tate was also reactivated. Tate was banned in 2017 for violating Twitter’s rules with highly misogynistic views, including claiming that women should “have some responsibility” if they’ve been raped.
“Any advertiser still funding Twitter should cease all advertising immediately,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “If Elon Musk continues to run Twitter this way, using polls that do not represent the American people and the needs of our democracy, God help us all.”
Musk admitted this month that Twitter, which relies on ads for 90% of its revenue, had seen a “big drop in revenue” after advertisers stopped booking space on the platform amid fears that content guidelines would be relaxed.
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Advertisers were also concerned by the failed relaunch of Twitter’s subscription service, Twitter Blue, after impersonators accepted an offer to verify by simply paying $7.99 (£7) a month. Omnicom, a media agency whose clients include McDonald’s, Apple and Pepsi, has urged companies to pause their Twitter posts over brand safety concerns.
Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and security who resigned after Musk’s takeover, said in a New York Times op-ed that he resigned because it was clear Musk would have unilateral control over content policy. “Twitter, whose policies are defined by unilateral decree, hardly needs a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development,” Roth wrote.
Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” first spoke of Trump’s return to power in May after agreeing to a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. He said “I would reverse the permanent ban” and claimed Twitter was “left leaning”.
This week, Musk rehired comedian Kathy Griffin, who was banned for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk,” in violation of his new anti-impersonation policy, without specifying that the account was fake. It also rehired Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist and author who was suspended from Twitter after violating the platform’s content guidelines by tweeting about transgender actor Elliot Page.
Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center to Counter Digital Hate, a campaign group, said the reactivation made Musk’s intent on Twitter “crystal clear”.
“It sends a clear message to users and advertisers that brand safety and an inclusive space for all users is no longer Twitter’s goal. Instead, it’s turning Twitter into a home for extreme and fringe voices that other platforms have rightly shunned,” Ahmed said.
On Friday, Musk announced a new “free speech but not free reach” content policy, stating that “negative/hateful” tweets will be “deboosted” and no ads will appear alongside them.
Twitter’s new policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.
Negative/hate tweets are maximally devalued and demoted, so there is no advertising or other revenue for Twitter.
You won’t find a tweet unless you specifically look for it, which is no different than the rest of the internet.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
Also on Friday, Twitter temporarily closed its offices after an unspecified number of employees left the company following an ultimatum from Musk to commit to being “hardcore” or leave. According to the New York Times, 1,200 of Twitter’s remaining 3,750 employees — a workforce already cut in half by Musk’s acquisition — left the company last week.
Twitter unbans Donald Trump after Elon Musk poll
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