Elon Musk has opened a poll on Twitter asking users to decide whether former US president Donald Trump should be reinstated nearly two years after he was suspended from the social media platform.
Over 50% of responders have voted yes while more than 40% voted no to Trump’s reinstatement.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
Trump, who was banned for using his Twitter account to stir the Jan 6, 2021 Capitol riot, following his claim that his election loss to Joe Biden was rigged, has been at the center of debate on Twitter under Musk’s “free speech” mantra that dominated his acquisition of the social media company.
Musk’s “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (voice of people, voice of God) response to the poll indicates that the final result will determine whether Trump’s Twitter account will be restored or not.
The world’s richest man said Friday that “New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.” He added that “Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.”
“You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet,” he said, adding that this applies just to the individual tweet, not the whole account.
Musk had touted reinstating Trump to Twitter when he made his Twitter acquisition bid earlier in the year.
But Trump appears to have lost interest in social media platforms after developing his own conservative-backed platform called TruthSocial. He said in April that he won’t be returning to Twitter if his account is reinstated.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump told Fox News. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth. The bottom line is, no, I am not going back to Twitter.”
Trump was also banned by other social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube, fueling his decision to create Truth where he could communicate with his supporters.
But Truth has faced both technical and financial challenges since it was launched in February. The platform was not allowed on the Google Play Store due to policy issues until recently. Also, its use is so far popular within the conservative’s circle, limiting the number of people Trump could reach.
The former president, who has unapologetically maintained a strained relationship with mainstream media, relies on social media to issue statements and disseminate messages to his supporters. He had nearly 90 million followers on Twitter when his account was suspended in January 2021.
With his intention to run for the office of the president once again in 2024, being reinstated to Twitter is an opportunity Trump wouldn’t want miss even though he’d said he’s sticking to Truth.