Former US President Donald Trump’s account has been reactivated on Twitter.
The platform had banned Trump’s account after the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and it was restored after the CEO and new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, posted a poll, on Friday night (18) , asking users of the social network whether Trump should be reinstated.
“The people spoke. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted late on Saturday. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
Final voting results on Saturday night showed 51.8% in favor and 48.2% against. The poll had 15 million votes.
The new owner’s decision sets the stage for the former president’s return to the social media platform, where he was the most influential, if controversial, user. With nearly 90 million followers, his tweets often moved markets, set the news and influenced the agenda in Washington.
Trump has previously said he would stay on his platform, Truth Social, rather than return to Twitter, but a shift in his approach could have big policy implications. The former president announced this month that he will seek a Republican presidential run in 2024, with the aim of becoming the second president elected to two non-consecutive terms.
Asked on Saturday what he thought of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and his future on the platform, Trump responded by praising Musk but questioning whether the site would survive the current crisis.
“They have a lot of problems,” Trump said in Las Vegas at the Jewish Republican Coalition meeting. “You see what’s going on. It might work, it might not work.”
Still, Trump said he liked Musk and “liked that he bought [o Twitter]🇧🇷
“He’s a character and I tend to like characters,” the former president said of Musk. “But he is smart.”
During Trump’s tenure in the White House, Twitter was instrumental to the Presidency, a fact that also benefited the company through countless hours of user engagement. Twitter used to take a lighthearted approach to moderating Trump’s account, arguing that as a public servant, the then-president should have ample freedom to speak.
But as Trump neared the end of his term — and increasingly tweeted disinformation alleging voter fraud — the approach changed. The company began placing warning advertisements in its tweets in an attempt to correct the misleading claims ahead of the 2020 presidential election. And after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, the platform banned Trump indefinitely.
“After a thorough review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence,” Twitter said at the time. “In the context of this week’s horrific events, we made clear on Wednesday that further violations of Twitter’s rules would potentially result in this course of action.”
The decision came after two tweets by Trump that Twitter said violated the company’s policy against advocating violence. The tweets, according to Twitter at the time, “should be read within the context of broader happenings in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements may be used by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the behavior pattern of this account in the last few weeks”.
The first tweet – a statement about Trump supporters, who he called “75 million great American patriots who voted for me” – suggested that “he plans to continue to support, empower and protect those who believed he won the election.” , said Twitter.
The second, which indicated that he did not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, could be seen as an additional statement that the election was not legitimate and could be interpreted as a statement by Trump saying that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence since he would not be present, according to Twitter.
Shortly after Trump’s suspension from Twitter, he was also blocked from accessing Facebook and Instagram, both owned by Meta, and which could also restore the former president’s accounts in January 2023.
On November 18, Musk tweeted that he had reactivated several controversial accounts on the platform, but that “a decision on Trump’s account has not yet been made.”
“Twitter’s new policy is freedom of expression, not freedom of reach,” he said at the time. “Negative/hateful Tweets will be maximized and demonetized and therefore will not result in advertising or other revenue streams for Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically look for it, which is no different than the rest of the internet.”
Musk had previously said that he disagreed with Twitter’s permanent ban policy and that he could return other accounts that were removed from the platform for rule violations.
“I don’t think it was right to ban Donald Trump; I think it was a mistake,” Musk said at a conference in May, vowing to reverse the ban if he became the owner of the company.
Jack Dorsey, who was Twitter’s CEO when the company banned Trump but has since left, responded to Musk’s comments by saying he agreed there shouldn’t be permanent bans. Banning the former president, he said, was a “business decision” and “should not have happened”.
The decision on Trump’s account is the latest in a series of big changes Musk has made at Twitter, including removing top leadership and a significant portion of his staff.
Musk also launched an updated subscription service that allows users to pay to receive verification marks, an indicator previously reserved for authenticated public figures, which was quickly used to impersonate important people, companies and government agencies. Twitter has discontinued the service and plans to reinstate it later this month.
On Friday, he said he would restore the accounts of three previously banned or suspended controversial users: Canadian podcaster Jordan Peterson, right-wing satirical website Babylon Bee and comedian Kathy Griffin.
The chaos has spooked many of Twitter’s top advertisers, who fear their ads will appear alongside potentially objectionable content, threatening the company’s core business model. Macy’s, Volkswagen Group, General Mills and other major brands have stopped advertising on the platform, causing what Musk called earlier this month “a massive drop in revenue”. And reactivating Trump’s account on the platform is unlikely to help.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Derrick Johnson urged advertisers who still fund Twitter to immediately stop all ads.
“On Elon Musk’s Twitter, you can incite an insurrection in the US Capitol that has led to the deaths of several people, and you can still spew hate speech and violent conspiracies on the platform,” Johnson said in a statement. “If Elon Musk continues to run Twitter like this, using throwaway polls that don’t represent the American people and the needs of our democracy, God help us.”
In an apparent effort to reassure advertisers and users, Musk previously said he would implement a “content moderation board” to help set policy and that no major content moderation decisions would be made prior to its implementation. There is no indication that such a group is involved in the movement to restore Trump’s account or the other users who returned to the platform on Friday.
In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Friday, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, who left the company last week, said that despite the billionaire’s pledges to involve others in important decisions , “Mr. Musk has made it clear that ultimately he will call the shots.”
Any surge in Twitter traffic due to Trump’s reinstatement could also put a technical strain on the platform that would coincide with the World Cup, which is typically one of the highest-rated events on the site.
“Twitter servers are undergoing a @elonmusk stress test right now,” tweeted Sriram Krishnan, an investor on Musk’s Twitter leadership team, on Saturday night.
The mass layoffs of workers at the company have led users, as well as some employees, to question whether the platform could face outages or other issues. Twitter has already experienced some outages in recent days, including with the feature that allows users to download their data from the site.
Source: CNN Brasil
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