Donald Trump has been cleared to reactivate his long-time favorite social media app, Twitter.
Elon Musk, Twitter’s new CEO and owner, announced the decision in a tweet Saturday night. This reverses the company’s earlier suspension of the former president for good. The decision comes just days after Trump announced his candidacy for president in the 2024 election.
Musk’s tweet follows a poll he posted on Twitter on Friday calling for Trump to be reinstated, allowing users to vote yes or no. At the time Musk announced the decision, about 52% of his more than 15 million respondents in his poll voted for Trump’s revival, while 48% voted against.
Shortly after Musk’s announcement, Trump’s account was activated and his tweets started appearing again. As of Saturday night, Trump has not posted a new tweet.
Twitter previously banned Trump permanently in early 2021. The company cited “the risk of inciting more violence” as the reason for the ban.
Musk’s decision is bound to be as polarizing as Trump himself. While many conservatives will welcome Trump’s return to Twitter, some see it as a threat to democracy given his past behavior on the platform. A social media outlet that also demonstrates Musk’s extraordinary power over his platform.
Musk originally said he would bring Trump back when he was still negotiating a deal to acquire the company in May 2021. There was no announcement of such a council, and Musk does not appear to be following through on that plan.
Trump has previously said he would not return to Twitter if given the chance because he would like to stay with Truth Social, the social media app he founded in February. Trump’s Twitter follower count has grown by tens of millions, and his Truth Social follower count in September was less than his four million, whereas at Trump’s peak he was 88 million people. Twitter might also offer better features to reach not only his fans, but also his haters.
“He can be the fox in the chicken coop again, so to speak,” social media policy consultant and former Facebook public policy employee Katie Harbath told Recode. “Twitter is a place to stick needles in people who are uncooperative.”
Musk’s decision could also make it easier for other major social media platforms such as Facebook to bring Trump back. Facebook’s parent company Meta said it would reconsider whether Trump poses an imminent risk of violence in January 2023.
Months after Trump was banned from Twitter, the amount of talk about him on major social media platforms plummeted. Now that Trump is back on the podium, it remains to be seen whether the former president will be able to command the attention he has so far.