What just happened? It's the start of a new week, which means Elon Musk has made another change at Twitter. In fairness to the world's richest person, this one is something he promised to do before gaining control of the platform: reinstate Donald Trump's account. However, Musk appeared to make his decision based on a (possibly bot-influenced) poll, and it's unclear whether the former president has any intention of returning.
It was back in May while he was still in the protracted process of purchasing Twitter when Musk said it was a "mistake" to ban Trump as it alienated a large part of the country, "... So I guess the answer is I would reverse the permaban."
Once he took control of Twitter, Musk said he would not be reinstating banned accounts until a content moderation council had been put in place, but it appears the Tesla boss decided to leave the decision down to Twitter's users.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
Musk Tweeted a poll over the weekend asking if Trump should be reinstated. After just over 15 million votes, around 11% of Musk's total followers, the Yes result won by 51.8%. Musk followed up with a tweet that read: "Vox Populi, Vox Dei," Latin for "the voice of the people is the voice of God." This was despite claiming the poll had been attacked by bots, something he knows a lot about, having tried to get out of the Twitter deal by insisting bots/spam made up 20% or more accounts on the platform.
Trump was permanently banned from Twitter following the Capitol attack in January last year due to "the risk of further incitement of violence." Musk once said he didn't believe in permabans; unless they're for impersonating celebrities, apparently.
The @realDonaldTrump account is once again active, though there have been no tweets since it was reinstated, possibly because Trump's still busy with his own Truth Social platform and pledged not to return to Twitter even if his ban was overturned.
Trump and Musk got into a public spat over the Twitter deal earlier this year when the former called the latter a "bullshit artist" who would have "begged" Trump for government subsidies. Musk then called out Trump for being too old to run for president again. After Trump labeled Twitter "worthless," Musk Tweeted the Simpson's famous 'old man yells at cloud' meme.
Since taking over Twitter, Musk has also reinstated accounts belonging to Kanye West, The Babylon Bee, Andrew Tate, and Jordan Peterson.