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Elon Musk announced on Saturday evening he will reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account, after a nearly two-year ban that was previously described as permanent.
“The people have spoken,” the new Twitter boss wrote on Saturday. “Trump will be reinstated.”
The billionaire added, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
The Independent has contacted Twitter for further comment on the decision, and whether it marks a change to the company’s user guidelines or ban process.
The former president’s account was “permanently” banned from the social media platform in January 2021, following the January 6 riots at the US Capitol.
The site took the drastic step “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said at the time.
On Friday, Mr Musk polled Twitter users as to whether Mr Trump should be let back on the platform.
A majority of more than 15 million respondents voted in the affirmative.
Earlier today, Mr Trump encouraged his supporters to vote to reinstate his Twitter account, but suggested he would stay on Truth Social, the platform he founded after being banned.
“Vote now with positive, but don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere,” Mr Trump wrote. “Truth Social is special!”
The Independent has contacted Mr Trump for further comment.
Previously, Mr Musk suggested Twitter would form a content moderation council with “diverse viewpoints” before deciding on Mr Trump and other controversial accounts.
It is unclear if that council ever met.
Conservatives celebrated Mr Musk’s decision.
“President Trump should have never been banned in the first place,” far-right congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Saturday on Twitter. “Interesting it took a poll to decide to reinstate him.”
(One of Ms Greene’s own Twitter accounts was permanently banned in January for spreading Covid-19 misinformation.)
As of Saturday evening, Mr Trump’s Twitter account was back online, though without the millions of followers it once used to fuel the former president’s political ascendance.
Critics warned that Mr Musk’s leadership would empower right-wing forces on Twitter.
Angelo Carusone, president of liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, said Twitter could become “a supercharged engine of radicalization if he follows through with even a fraction of what he has promised.”
The decision marks the latest controversial step since Mr Musk assumed full control of Twitter in October, following a turbulent $44bn buyout marred by lawsuits and social media sparring with Twitter executives.
Since then, the platform has seen a mass exodus of employees and advertisers, as fake accounts proliferate and Twitter controversially suggested it would begin charging monthly fees for the “blue check” verification system.
The number of tweets with racial slurs has soared since the takeover, according to research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
Twitter has reinstated other previously suspended accounts, like that of alt-right professor Jordan Peterson and comedian Kathy Griffin.