No, Elon Musk can’t bring Trump back to Twitter
April 7, 2022

No, Elon Musk can’t bring Trump back to Twitter



It was as if a savior had descended from the heavens to ship Twitter from the sin of content material moderation.

“Elon Musk has made it clear he opposes huge tech censorship, and that’s one thing all freedom-loving People can get behind,” tweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican.

BRING BACK TRUMP!” exhorted Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio added merely: “Musk. Free speech.

Followers of QAnon, the far-right extremist ideology primarily based on a sprawling set of false claims, theorized that Musk was destined to merge Twitter with Trump’s troubled Reality Social community, making social media nice once more.

The giddiness from the fitting — and consternation from the left — stems from the information that Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, had joined Twitter’s board after buying a 9 p.c stake within the firm, making him its largest shareholder.

Musk’s sudden transubstantiation from a Twitter critic to a Twitter chief has naturally sparked hypothesis each inside and out of doors the corporate as to only how the outspoken tycoon would possibly wield energy over its insurance policies — and whether or not he would possibly cajole it into reversing its ban on former president Donald Trump.

Elon Musk joins Twitter board, promises ‘significant improvements’

Twitter wasn’t the one platform to punish the president for his position in instigating the violence, nevertheless it was Trump’s digital megaphone of alternative. The company’s decision on Jan. 8, 2021, to completely ban him, following the Jan. 6 Capitol revolt, was a watershed within the historical past of social media and American politics. Twitter’s ban went farther than its rivals Fb and YouTube, whose indefinite suspensions left open the likelihood that he may return for a 2024 presidential run.

Musk has already stated that he plans to enact “vital enhancements” at Twitter, and has polled his gazillion Twitter followers on whether or not they assume Twitter does sufficient to uphold principles of free speech.

He additionally polled them on Monday as as to if they want an edit button. In what Twitter insists is a coincidence, the corporate on Tuesday introduced that it’s certainly working on an edit button.

Even at this early juncture, it appears clear to each workers and out of doors critics that Musk could have some extent of affect over the corporate’s communications, if solely by pressuring it to handle no matter harebrained tweet he might hearth off on a given day.

Musk has given at the least some indication that he could also be rankled by Twitter’s silencing elected officers. He tweeted on Jan. 11, 2021: “Lots of people are going to be tremendous sad with West Coast excessive tech because the de facto arbiter of free speech.”

Elon Musk delayed filing a form and made $156 million

Reporting by my Submit colleague Elizabeth Dwoskin exhibits that Twitter’s executives sought to reassure their very own anxious workers that Musk is not going to set coverage for the corporate. One despatched an open letter to workers promising that the work of combating “hate speech and trolls” was “larger than any board member.” And an organization spokesman advised the Submit, “Our day-to-day operations and selections are made by Twitter administration and workers.”

It might definitely be uncommon for a single board member, who owns 9 p.c of an organization, to unilaterally change its coverage on one thing as momentous because the Trump ban. That’s a choice for CEO Parag Agrawal and his workers, together with coverage chief Vijaya Gadde, who has overseen the corporate’s increasingly interventionist approach to points comparable to hate speech, misinformation, and person security. Even when the board of administrators have been to attempt to contain itself — maybe by pressuring Agrawal — Musk would nonetheless be only one amongst that group, albeit the richest and loudest.

Musk isn’t one to let norms — and even, at instances, legalities — stand in his method, as his unorthodox filings to buy a stake in Twitter as soon as once more confirmed. If he have been so moved, he may attempt to pressure Trump again onto the corporate’s agenda by way of a blitz of tweets, which might animate his personal supporters whereas offering prepared fodder for an keen conservative media to take up the trigger. With Musk on the board, Twitter may now not merely ignore such a marketing campaign or dismiss him as a crank.

Even then, nevertheless, overturning the coverage would require him to win over Agrawal, who has indicated his help for the ban, or persuade his fellow board members to oust Agrawal. Neither appears notably probably at this juncture.

Whereas bringing again Trump may maybe assist guarantee Twitter’s place within the political highlight within the occasion of a profitable Trump 2024 marketing campaign, it could alienate giant swaths of customers and workers, and maybe additionally advertisers, who’re the corporate’s important income supply.

How Twitter, on the front lines of history, finally decided to ban Trump

However all of this assumes a degree of ardour for reinstating Trump that Musk has given no proof he possesses. Although he has on a number of events proven help for the final concept that Twitter ought to promote free speech, he has stated nothing of notice on the Trump ban since that January 2021 tweet.

In truth, Musk has stated what he thinks is the “single most annoying downside on Twitter” at this time, and it has nothing to do with Trump. Relatively, the goal of his ire was “crypto spam bots.” He’d most likely discover way more help, each inside Twitter and on its board, for prioritizing higher anti-spam techniques to wash up the platform than for bringing Trump again.

This isn’t to say that workers are fallacious to fret about Musk meddling of their work. The addition of an influential and vocal board member with a bias towards laissez-faire content material insurance policies may definitely have an effect on among the firm’s priorities, notably these on which his considerations are shared by different board members and leaders. For a platform that when took a hands-off strategy, Twitter has invested closely lately in analysis and product adjustments to advertise what it calls “healthy conversations” — a aim that Musk might or might not share.

No matter Musk, the corporate might really feel compelled give some further thought to its Trump ban if Trump emerges as soon as once more as a favourite to win the GOP nomination in 2024.

But when Trump and his supporters have been banking on Musk to miraculously revive his Twitter account earlier than then, they could have higher luck fixing Truth Social.


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