- Since Elon Musk took over Twitter, promising to respect free speech, some accounts have been reinstated.
- On Saturday, Musk decided to restore former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
- Trump is one of many controversial figures whose banned accounts have been reactivated.
Months before taking over Twitter, Elon Musk criticized the social networking site for “failing to respect the principles of freedom of expression”, going so far as to say that the application “fundamentally undermines democracy”.
Musk, who has already called himself a “free speech absolutist” wields its power, making changes to the site on a whim.
Twitter has been in relentless chaos since Musk took over on October 27. Employees have been fired, verification now costs $7.99, and accounts have been banned. Some previously banned or suspended accounts have been revived, but in typical Musk fashion, the reinstatements have not been without controversy.
Here are the accounts that have been restored:
In January 2021, the former president’s account was permanently suspended by Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement to violence” following the Capitol insurgency.
According to CNN, Trump was suspended after sending two tweets, including this one: “The 75,000,000 great American patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE in the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way!!!”
Politico reported that Trump had gone “ballistic” after the ban and was scrambling to figure out what his options were, according to a senior administration official. He eventually launched a new social media app called Truth Social in February.
After debating whether Trump would return to the site, Musk gave users a choice on Friday by taking a poll: “Reinstate former President Donald Trump,” Musk tweeted, with a “yes” and ” Nope “. After 51% of those polled voted “yes”, the billionaire owner restored Trump’s Twitter account the next day.
It’s unclear whether the former president will return to the Bird app since Truth Social’s inception.
“I’m not going to Twitter, I’m going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump told Fox News in April. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he will improve it and he’s a good man, but I’m going to stick with TRUTH.”
“At the end of the day, no, I’m not going back to Twitter,” he said.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
Controversial influencer Andrew Tate was suspended from Twitter in 2017 after violating the company’s terms of service. NBC reported that Tate tweeted that women should “take some responsibility” for being sexually assaulted, which triggered the suspension.
Tate has emerged as a leader for a new generation of the “manosphere” and frequently spews misogynistic and violent comments about women.
After five years, his Twitter account was reinstated.
—Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) November 18, 2022
Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has been temporarily suspended from the social media network after violating the site’s hateful conduct policy on June 28. Peterson referred to transgender actor Elliot Page by his dead name, according to Forbes.
After being suspended, Peterson filmed a nearly 15-minute YouTube video saying he’d rather die than delete the hateful tweet.
Following Musk’s Nov. 18 tweet that Peterson would have his account restored, the professor seemed to relish the return, posting a flurry of tweets.
—Dr. Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) November 18, 2022
The bee of Babylon
The Babylon Bee, a right-wing satirical site, was banned in March for making an anti-trans comment about Rachel Levine, a trans woman who currently serves as US undersecretary of health.
In response to the ban, CEO Seth Dillon posted a message on The Babylon Bee’s website saying, “We won’t compromise the truth just to keep our account.”
After being reinstated on November 18, The Babylon Bee tweeted, “We’re back. Let that sink in.”
—The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) November 18, 2022
Comedian Kathy Griffin’s account was suspended and then revived within a month.
Her account was suspended in November after she impersonated Musk and mocked him in several tweets. After copying Musk’s profile picture, Griffin tweeted, “After long heated discussions with the women in my life, I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice was right. (They’re also hot women, d’ elsewhere.) #VoteBlueToProtectWomen.”
While Peterson may have embraced Musk’s decision, Griffin wanted nothing to do with it. On Mastodon, a social network that many Twitter users have flocked to, Griffin hissed — Mastodon’s version of the tweet — “Dear Space Karen. No thanks.”