Unban Trump on Twitter? Musk ponders reinstating former US president

Future of Donald Trump's account, which had more than 88 million followers, remains undecided

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Twitter owner Elon Musk on Friday said he had begun to reinstate some banned accounts on the social media platform, although former US president Donald Trump remains frozen out for now.

At the end of a difficult week for Mr Musk, he asked whether Twitter's most famous enfant terrible should be allowed back on.

"Reinstate former President Trump?" Mr Musk asked in a Twitter poll about the polarising politician who once had more than 88 million followers.

As of Friday evening, 56.5 per cent of respondents said Mr Trump, who was banned following the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol "due to the risk of further incitement of violence", should be allowed back on Twitter.

Mr Musk is at risk of losing his ranking as the world's richest person as Tesla bulls dump their stock in the electric car maker, while he struggles at the helm of Twitter, which he bought last month for $44 billion.

Mr Trump, who continues to attract a large following despite arguably costing the Republican Party election victories in 2018, 2020 and 2022, was famous for his controversial tweets.

Whether he would even choose to return to Twitter is an open question, as Mr Trump has created his own social media platform called Truth Social, where he remains active.

Meanwhile, comedienne Kathy Griffin, whom Mr Musk banned after she impersonated him, and psychologist Jordan Peterson have been allowed back on to the platform, as was conservative satirical website Babylon Bee.

Mr Musk said in late October that a council would be formed at Twitter to address content decisions and account reinstatements.

He said no decisions “will happen before that council convenes” but no details have been released, suggesting Mr Musk is making these decisions himself as Twitter staff continue to quit en masse.

“Trump decision has not yet been made,” Mr Musk tweeted on Friday.

Griffin was suspended for impersonating Mr Musk, while Dr Peterson was kicked off the platform for calling actor Elliot Page's gender transition a sin. The Babylon Bee account was suspended for posting hateful content.

This comes after another chaotic day at the social media platform, where hundreds of staff reportedly left after Mr Musk issued an ultimatum to work “hardcore” for a so-called Twitter 2.0 under his leadership.

Meanwhile, a visual artist in San Francisco projected unflattering descriptions of Mr Musk on to the company's headquarters, including “Space Karen” and “Bankruptcy Baby”.

In the US, a “Karen” is a derogatory name for a white woman who makes a scene at a shop or restaurant, demanding to “speak to the manager”.

Many Twitter users pointed out that Mr Musk is the manager and many other executives have quit or been sacked.

A look at former president Donald Trump's Truth Social feed - in pictures

Updated: November 20, 2022, 4:14 AM
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