Musk held a sketchy online poll in which some 15 million handles voted by a roughly 52-48 percent favoring Trump‘s return. ”
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted on Saturday, triggering jubilation among Trump supporters and outrage from die-hard critics. Trump himself had not tweeted till Sunday morning, sticking to his platform Truth Social that he started after being turfed out of Twitter.
All through the weekend, the hashtag #Hesback was among the top trending topics on Twitter along with other Trump related subjects as supporters and opponent vent their feelings on a case that tests the parameters of the US constitution’s First Amendment that “protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Trump critics argue that does not account for spreading lies and disinformation that they accuse the former President of. Musk on his part is a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” although he has lately finessed it to say the new Twitter policy is “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”
Trump’s restored account included all his old tweets and it initially began racking up followers starting from zero. But by Sunday morning, Twitter showed 83 million following him. At the top of his timeline was his last tweet on January 8, when he declared “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
In contrast, Trump has only 4.57 million followers on his Truth Social platform, suggesting among other things that his hardcore following is fairly limited.
Trump though said he does not see any reason to return to Twitter, telling the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting on Saturday that Truth Social has better user engagement than Twitter and is doing “phenomenally well.”
But he expressed admiration for Elon Musk, saying, “I do like him… you know, he’s a character and again, I like characters.”
Trump’s account was suspended on January 8, 2021 after he praised the mob that stormed Congress said he “loved” them. Among the posts Twitter deleted while initially suspending him for 12 hours was one that read, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
The suspension was later extended indefinitely, with Twitter’s then head of legal policy Vijaya Gadde, credited with making the decision. Trump followers accused Gadde of censorship and Musk eventually fired her when he took over the company in October.
Musk now has his own critics with many seeing him as a likeness of Trump. Some of them accused him of reinstating Trump’s account in the hope of saving his $ 44 billion investment saying “Twitter is the new Truth Social.”