Updated Nov 20, 2022 - Economy

Musk reinstates Trump's Twitter account after poll

Illustration of the Twitter logo growing hair like Donald Trump's, and turning orange.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Elon Musk on Saturday reinstated former President Trump's Twitter account, three weeks after acquiring the social media company for $44 billion and shortly after millions of accounts voted in favor (52% of more than 15 million total votes) of the decision through a poll Musk posted Friday night.

  • In a tweet, Musk said, “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated.”

Why it matters: Trump used Twitter as his primary communication tool when running for president, and then while in office.

  • Trump, twice-impeached and under criminal investigation, launched his 2024 campaign on Tuesday night.
  • Musk has said permanent bans should be extremely rare (he recently implemented them for users who impersonate others) and that Trump’s suspension was “a mistake” and “foolish.” He announced on Friday that Kathy Griffin, Jordan Peterson and Babylon Bee were reinstated and that a decision hadn't been made yet about Trump's account.

The big picture: Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account two days after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, in what it said was a response to the "risk of further incitement of violence."

  • Trump was permanently de-platformed by Facebook one day later, but Facebook later reduced its ban to two years.
  • Earlier this year, Trump launched a Twitter clone called Truth Social. But the social media platform has struggled with user growth after an initial surge as well as federal investigations into its stalled merger with a blank check acquisition company.

What they're saying: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday it was a "terrible mistake" to allow Trump back on Twitter, saying the former president used the platform "to incite the attack on the Capitol."

  • Schiff also said the decision contradicted Musk saying Twitter would create a "content moderation council" before making any "major content decisions or account reinstatements" on the platform.
  • "It just underscores the erratic leadership of Twitter now under Musk," Schiff added.

Look ahead: Trump has said he wouldn't use Twitter, if he is reinstated, and he agreed to some restrictions upon forming Truth Social.

  • Trump on Truth Social had posted about Musk’s poll saying to “vote with positivity” and ”don’t worry we aren’t going anywhere.”

Dan’s thought bubble: Trump’s deal with Truth Social requires him to post there first, but it also has a giant carve out for “political messaging.”

  • Given that he’s now running for President, one could argue almost all his posts would be political massaging.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with statements from Rep. Adam Schiff on ABC's "This Week."

Go deeper