Elon Musk has restored the Twitter account of conservative firebrand Alex Jones, who was kicked off the platform in 2018. Musk polled two million Twitter users, and 70% agreed he should return to the forum. The following morning, Musk tweeted, “The people have spoken, and so it shall be.”
However, the billionaire businessman did admit that allowing Jones to return could be financially troublesome for the company, but stated that free speech “principles matter more than money.” Some advertisers have abandoned Twitter since Mr. Musk purchased the platform and promised to restore free speech after a slew of expulsions of specifically right-wing figures under the previous owners.
Among those expelled in recent years was then-sitting US President Donald Trump, whose account was closed following the Capitol Hill riots on January 6, 2021. Mr. Trump’s access was shut down for 12 hours on the day of the riots, but when he returned the following day, he tweeted, “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.”
Twitter bosses interpreted those remarks as an indicator that Trump did not intend an “orderly transition” of power and banned him permanently. Musk re-opened Trump’s account this year, but he has so far only made one post – a photo of his notorious mugshot taken in a Georgia jail in August.
Alex Jones, who runs a popular online show called “InfoWars,” was removed from the platform permanently in 2018 after he claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was a false flag, and livestreamed a public row with CNN reporter Oliver Darcy on Capitol Hill – whom he described as anti-American.
Elon Musk initially said he would not restore Alex Jones because of his comments on Sandy Hook, but later asked users if Twitter, now named X, should be a free speech platform or not. The overwhelming support for free expression appeared to change his mind.