In a controversial move, SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter CEO Elon Musk raised a poll to determine whether to reinstate the former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. With a small margin of votes between 15 million+ respondents, the results were in favor of doing so.
Donald Trump’s Twitter account was permanently suspended after decisions were made regarding the risk of incitement of violence. This coincided with the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Elon Musk has had a string of controversial decisions since buying out Twitter, including the monetization of confirmed accounts with the Twitter Blue option, service interruptions, and the mass layoffs of the platform's employees. What does reinstating the suspended account of one of the most divisive public figures of our time entail? Read on for more.
After Elon Musk posted on his official Twitter account a public poll to determine whether to reinstate former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account, the tweet went viral and received millions of respondents.
Reinstate former President Trump
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
The results show that those in favor of reinstating Trump’s Twitter account was 51.8% of the total, with 48.2% opposing the move. The polls reflect the votes of 15,085,458 respondents by the finally tally. However, Elon Musk pointed out that 134 million people saw the poll, which means roughly only a tenth of those who have seen it chose to participate.
As a result of the poll, Musk has effectively reinstated Donald Trump’s official Twitter account. Musk has quoted the adage "Vox Populi, Vox Dei", which is an excerpt from the scholar and theologian Alcuin in his letter to Emperor Charlemagne in 798 AD.
The basic translation of Vox Populi, Vox Dei is "the voice of the people is the voice of God." It is often used as a shorthand way of justifying that the decision of the majority is to be followed. However, the full transcript of that part of Alcuin’s letter actually reads:
Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.
Translating it into English, it reads:
And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.
Essentially, Alcuin was informing Emperor Charlemagne of not listening to the crowd or the rabble, as it leads to madness. However, despite the full context, most people (particularly celebrities and politicians) have used only the Vox Populi, Vox Dei phrase.
It should be noted that the controversial former U.S. President is not the only high profile figure whose previously banned Twitter account was reinstated. Earlier this week, Musk announced in a tweet that they are reinstating Kathy Griffin, Jordan Peterson, and Babylon Bee.
Interestingly, at the time of these account reinstatements, the Twitter CEO mentioned that no decision was made yet regarding Donald Trump’s account.
Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated.
Trump decision has not yet been made.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
Musk pointed out that the Twitter policy under his watch will be strict with regard to negative or hate tweets, particularly those intended for monetization:
New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. 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.
However, despite the reinstatement of Donald Trump’s Twitter account, it seems the ex-U.S. President will not be returning to the platform.
According to a report by Reuters on November 19, Donald Trump stated that he had no interest in using Twitter in favor of his own platform Truth Social. Truth Social is the app developed by his Trump Media & Technology Group startup.
The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
Reportedly, Donald Trump has 4.57 million followers on his Truth Social platform. But as of the time of this writing, Donald J. Trump’s reinstated Twitter account currently has 86.4 million followers.