Former U.S. President Donald Trump announces he will run again for U.S. President in the 2024 U.S. presidential election during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on November 15, 2022.
Jonathan Ernest | Reuters
Donald Trump said on Saturday he had no interest in returning to Twitter even as a narrow majority voted to reinstate the former US president, who was banned from the social media service for inciting violence, in a poll organized by new owner Elon Musk.
Just over 15 million Twitter users voted in the poll with 51.8% voting in favor of reinstatement.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted.
Trump’s Twitter account, which had more than 88 million followers before he was banned on Jan. 8, 2021, began racking up followers and had nearly 100,000 followers as of 10 p.m. ET Saturday.
Some users initially reported being unable to follow the reinstated account on Saturday night. Trump had appeared less enthusiastic earlier in the day. “I don’t see any reason for that,” the former president said via video when asked if he plans to return to Twitter through a panel at the annual meeting of leaders of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
He said he would stick with his new Truth Social platform, the app developed by his startup Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which he said had better user engagement than Twitter and will was doing “phenomenaly well”. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump, who on Tuesday launched a bid to return to the White House in 2024, praised Musk and said he had always loved him. But Trump also said Twitter suffered from bots, fake accounts and the problems it faced were “unbelievable”.
Musk first said in May that he planned to reverse Trump’s ban, and the timing of any Trump comeback was closely watched — and feared — by many Twitter advertisers.
The billionaire has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision would be made after review by a content moderation board made up of people with “very diverse viewpoints” and that no account reinstatement would not occur before the convening of the council.
He also said that Twitter would not reinstate any banned users until there was a “clear process for doing so”. But this week, Musk reinstated comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been banned for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk,” which violated his new rule against impersonation without indicating that he was acted as a parody account. There has been no new information about the moderation process or advice.
No reason to return
A no-show from Trump could lessen concerns among major advertisers, who are already rattled by Musk’s sweeping Twitter overhaul. He halved staff and severely reduced the company’s trust and safety team, which is tasked with preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content.
These actions and Musk’s tweets have prompted major companies to suspend advertising on the site as they monitor how the platform handles hate speech.
On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Twitter may lay off more employees in its sales and partnership divisions, citing unnamed sources, just days after a massive resignation of engineers.
If Trump were to return to Twitter, the move would raise questions about his commitment to Truth Social, which launched on Apple’s App Store in February and Google’s Play Store in October.
Trump has some 4.57 million followers on Truth Social. Truth Social has been Trump’s main source of direct communication with his followers since he began posting regularly on the app in May. He used Truth Social to promote his allies, criticize opponents and defend his reputation amid legal scrutiny by state, congressional and federal investigators. His deal with the company, however, opens the door for Trump to engage broadly on other platforms.
Trump is obligated to give Truth Social a six-hour exclusive on any post — but is free to post “political posts, political fundraisers, or get-out-the-vote efforts” on any site, at any time, according to an SEC filing from May. .