Will Twitter bring Donald Trump back now that Elon Musk owns it?
Is Donald Trump back on Twitter?
Now that Elon Musk is running Twitter, billionaire Tesla is likely to overturn a permanent ban on Trump for inciting violence during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Musk has indicated he will allow Trump to return to the social media platform where the former president has more than 88 million followers.
“It would be great to lift the permanent bans, except for spammy accounts and those that explicitly advocate violence,” Musk texted Parag Agrawal, then Twitter CEO, in April, according to court documents.
At a conference in May, Musk said, “I think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump, I think it was wrong.”
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Will Trump remain exclusively on Truth Social?
Trump said he would not return to Twitter even if prompted. Musk also said he thinks Trump will stay exclusively on Truth Social.
But Trump didn’t get the same resonance from his Truth Social app, which has a much more limited reach.
On Truth Social, Trump has 4.36 million followers, just 5% of those he had on Twitter.
Some people close to him think Trump will change his mind.
“I don’t see how you’re taking it away from Twitter,” Alyssa Farah, who worked in the Trump administration, said in a April tweet.
Come back? Will Elon Musk let Donald Trump return to Twitter? All signs point to yes.
“Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice”
The de-platforming of Trump and other figures on the political right has sparked outrage from conservatives who accuse Facebook and other major social media platforms of censorship and liberal bias.
“Banning Trump from Twitter hasn’t ended Trump’s voice. It will amplify it among the right and that’s why it’s morally wrong and downright stupid,” Musk said.
Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter, agreed that Twitter should not have permanent bans. Trump’s ban, he said, was a “business decision” and “shouldn’t have been.”
Trump’s comeback could be risky for Twitter
A return to mainstream social media carries risks for Twitter and for democracy because it “would surely raise the temperature of our politics and dramatically increase the likelihood of political violence,” said Missouri State University communications professor Brian Ott. .
Trump continued to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
“It would be a colossal mistake for Twitter to reinstate Trump on its platform,” Ott said. “He was fired for good reason, namely for repeatedly violating their terms of service and for inciting violence.”
Advertisers also worried about Trump’s return to Twitter
Madison Avenue is also worried. Kieley Taylor, global head of partnerships at GroupM, a leading ad buying agency that represents blue-chip brands, told the Wall Street Journal that Trump’s return would be a red line for some brands.
In a tweet to Twitter advertisers on Thursday, Musk said it was “important for the future of civilization to have a common digital public square,” but that it “obviously cannot become a landscape of free hell for all, where anything can be said without consequences”. !”
Why Twitter needs Trump and vice versa
Trump lost his direct connection to his supporters when he was kicked out of the nation’s major social media platforms — Google’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — after the Capitol siege.
Of the platforms, Twitter was Trump’s favorite. Getting that megaphone back would be a godsend if Trump runs for president again in 2024.
“Trump is, of course, the presumptive nominee for the GOP in 2024. His return to mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter would greatly help his campaign efforts. Social media was, after all, central to Trump’s successful run for president in 2016,” Ott said.
As Twitter struggles to keep its most active users engaged, Musk has a strong financial motive to bring back Trump, who is just the kind of mega-personality driving engagement on the platform.
Heavy Twitter users, who make up less than 10% of monthly global users but generate 90% of tweets and half of global revenue, have been in “absolute decline” since the start of the pandemic, a Twitter researcher wrote in a internal document entitled “Where have the Tweeters gone?” seen by Reuters.
Facebook will decide in 2023 if Trump can return, YouTube won’t say
Facebook, meanwhile, will decide in January whether or not to lift Trump’s suspension.
As for YouTube, CEO Susan Wojcicki said last year that the platform would lift Trump’s ban “when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased.”
YouTube declined to comment.
Trump and Musk exchange heated remarks
It is unclear what the current relationship between Musk and Trump is. They exchanged some heated remarks in July. Trump called Musk a “bullshit artist.” Musk said Trump should “sail into the sunset”.
In an interview with the Financial Times published earlier this month, Musk called Truth Social a “right-wing echo chamber.”
“It might as well be called Trumpet,” he said.
Will Twitter bring back other banned accounts like Marjorie Taylor Greene?
Musk has pledged to ease content moderation on Twitter, which in recent years has sought to limit hate speech, violence and lies about elections and public health issues.
He also strongly suggested revoking permanent bans, except for accounts that make explicit threats of violence or spread spam. That could include Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon.
“Twitter has become a kind of de facto public square, so it’s very important that people have both the reality and the perception that they can speak freely within the confines of the law,” Musk said in April.