On Monday, new Twitter boss Elon Musk addressed the question that’s on everyone’s mind: Will he allow Donald Trump to return to the social media site?
On Monday, Musk tweeted, “If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if Trump is coming back on this platform, Twitter would be minting money!” Musk declined to say one way or the other whether or not he plans to allow Trump to return to the site.
Last week, Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, opening his tenure as “Chief Twit” by cleaning house, firing top executives Parag Agrawal, CEO, Ned Segal, CFO, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust and safety, as well as the company’s general counsel Sean Edgett, The Washington Post reported. Musk also allegedly laid off an entire team of data engineers among other now-former Twitter employees.
In the weeks and months leading up to his purchase of Twitter, Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” has claimed that he intends to reinstate Trump’s account, but now that decision may be placed in question after The Wall Street Journal reported that several top brands were prepared to cut ties with Twitter if Musk followed through with allowing Trump back onto the site.
Musk did issue a statement last week in what appears to be an effort to settle advertisers, and explain his reasoning for purchasing the site in the first place. He pledged not to allow Twitter to descend into a “free-for-all hellscape.”
Trump was banned from Twitter after the U.S. Capitol incident on January 6, 2021. His expulsion from the platform was what ultimately led the former president to communicate almost exclusively on his Truth Social platform.
Musk’s new position as head of Twitter has already led him to some controversy after some prominent celebrities and athletes, including basketball superstar LeBron James, have expressed alarm at the increase in hate speech and racial slurs being used on the platform.
“I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter,” James commented in a Saturday Twitter post. “But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF. So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech.”
Musk responded by referring James to a thread by Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity.
“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a small number of accounts post a ton of Tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms,” Roth tweeted Saturday. “To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts.”
Roth continued: “Nearly all of these accounts are inauthentic. We’ve taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign — and are going to continue working to address this in the days to come to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone.”
Trump himself, meanwhile, has pledged never to return to Twitter, and his statement on Friday did nothing to reverse his previous claims.
“TRUTH SOCIAL has become somewhat of a phenomena,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. “Last week it had bigger numbers than all other platforms, including TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest. It also looks and works better to my eye. I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs that truly hate our country. Twitter must now work hard to rid itself of all of the bots and fake accounts that have hurt it so badly. It will be much smaller, but better. I LOVE TRUTH!”
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