Elon Musk Restores Trump’s Twitter Account After 51.8% Vote in Favor of Reinstatement

Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump’s account on Twitter on Saturday, reversing a ban that has kept the former president off the social media site since a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was poised to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.

Musk made the announcement in the evening after holding a poll that asked Twitter users to click “yes” or “no” on whether Trump’s account should be restored. The “yes” vote won, with 51.8%.

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”

Shortly afterward Trump’s account, which had earlier appeared as suspended, reappeared on the platform complete with his former tweets, more than 59,000 of them. However his followers were gone, at least initially.

It is not clear whether Trump would actually return to Twitter. An irrepressible tweeter before he was banned, Trump has said in the past that he would not rejoin even if his account was reinstated. He has been relying on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked from Twitter.

And on Saturday, during a video speech to a Republican Jewish group meeting in Las Vegas, Trump said that he was aware of Musk’s poll but that he saw “a lot of problems at Twitter,” according to Bloomberg.

“I hear we’re getting a big vote to also go back on Twitter. I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason for it,” Trump was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “It may make it, it may not make it,” he added, apparently referring to Twitter’s recent internal upheavals.

The prospect of restoring Trump’s presence to the platform follows Musk’s purchase last month of Twitter — an acquisition that has fanned widespread concern that the billionaire owner will allow purveyors of lies and misinformation to flourish on the site. Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive of freewheeling speech.

His efforts to reshape the site have been both swift and chaotic. Musk has fired many of the company’s 7,500 full-time workers and an untold number of contractors who are responsible for content moderation and other crucial responsibilities. His demand that remaining employees pledge to “extremely hardcore” work triggered a wave of resignations, including hundreds of software engineers.

Users have reported seeing increased spam and scams on their feeds and in their direct messages, among other glitches, in the aftermath of the mass layoffs and worker exodus. Some programmers who were fired or resigned this week warned that Twitter may soon fray so badly it could actually crash.

Musk’s online survey, which ran for 24 hours before ending Saturday evening, concluded with 51.8% of more than 15 million votes favoring the restoration of Trump’s Twitter’ account. It comes four days after Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2024.

Trump lost his access to Twitter two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol, soon after the former president had exhorted them to “fight like hell.” Twitter dropped his account after Trump wrote a pair of tweets that the company said cast further doubts on the legitimacy of the presidential election and raised risks for the Biden presidential inauguration.

After the Jan. 6 attack, Trump was also kicked off Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta Platforms, and Snapchat. His ability to post videos to his YouTube channel was also suspended. Facebook is set to reconsider Trump’s account suspension in January.

Throughout his tenure as president, Trump’s use of social media posed a significant challenge to major social media platforms that sought to balance the public’s interest in hearing from public officials with worries about misinformation, bigotry, harassment and incitement of violence.

But in a speech at an auto conference in May, Musk asserted that Twitter’s ban of Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”

Earlier this month, Musk, who completed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter in late October, declared that the company wouldn’t let anyone who had been kicked off the site return until Twitter had established procedures on how to do so, including forming a “content moderation council.”

On Friday, Musk tweeted that the suspended Twitter accounts for the comedian Kathy Griffin, the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and the conservative Christian news satire website Babylon Bee had been reinstated. He added that a decision on Trump had not yet been made. He also responded “no” when someone on Twitter asked him to reinstate the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account.

In a tweet Friday, the Tesla CEO described the company’s new content policy as “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”

Click here to read the full article at the OC Register

Changes Begin At Twitter After First Full Day Under Musk

Musk tweets that many will be unbanned for minor offenses soon

Many changes coming to Twitter were teased by the company on Friday, a day after billionaire Elon Musk took over the company. Many who had previously been banned or temporarily banned by the social media site praised the changes while employees had a more mixed reaction.

The sale of Twitter to Musk for $44 billion was made official on Thursday, completing one of California’s largest company ownership transfers ever. Many users who had been banned in the past over certain tweets made called the sale  a victory for freedom of speech and noted that a huge shift was already being felt.

Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro simply tweeted a gif of Champagne popping as well as “We can only hope that other social media bosses (cc: Mark Zuckerberg) follow Musk’s lead.”

Others tweeted that they hoped that the sale meant that former President Donald Trump, radio show host Alex Jones, and commentator Milo Yiannopoulos would be allowed back to the platform.

Later on Friday Musk announced that Twitter would be forming a content moderation council similar to the one in place at Facebook to stop automatic bans and to go through them when needed. But he also said that anyone frozen from Twitter for minor or ‘dubious’ reasons would be unblocked as soon as possible and hinted at fewer bans in the future.

“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” said Musk in a series of tweets on Friday. “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes. Anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.

“Comedy is now legal on Twitter.”

The news led to Twitter’s largest bannee, Donald Trump, to send out a message on his own social media site, Truth Social, praising Musk and the sale of Twitter.

“I’m very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands following Musk’s takeover,” said Trump on Friday. “Truth Social has become somewhat of a phenomena. It also looks and works better to my eye. I like Elon and I wish him a lot of luck. I hope he does well with it.”

However, he also confirmed via a Fox News interview later on Friday that he would be staying on Truth Social for now, adding, “I am staying on Truth. I like it better, I like the way it works, I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth.”

Twitter employees in San Francisco had a different view of the sale on Friday, with many now divided in the way that the company is now going.

“Some people are really happy that Musk now owns us while others are now updating their resumes and getting ready to bail,” explained  “Morgan,” a Twitter employee who wished to remain anonymous, to the Globe on Friday. “A lot of people also think that Musk is insane and think he is going to drive Twitter off a cliff.”

“I can’t say for sure what the split is, but since this has been what we’ve been talking about for a lot of the year, I’d say that more here are worried about this than not. I mean, they’ve fired a lot of management in the past few days, so it’s hard to know where exactly we’re going.”

“And we’re in San Francisco, so a lot of people are seeing right-wingers praise this deal and are horrified at that. Others have pushed for Twitter to be more open with view points too. Policies are shifting, and I can bet you’ll be seeing the type of employee shifting here too. Something the party has ended, others think its now beginning, others think that the party is back after it was shut down for awhile.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Conservatives Notice Thousands of Twitter Followers Restored After Elon Musk Purchase Announcement

Is a complaint against Facebook next?

The purchase of Twitter for $44 billion by Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk announced Monday caused a huge ripple across media and social media. And almost immediately, Pundits and news hosts on conservative media, politicians and candidates announced their suspended accounts were restored, or if not suspended,  tens of thousands of followers reappeared.

One of the first was Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whose Twitter account was suspended in March after the social media company said he violated its fluid rules by referring to Biden Administration Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as a man rather than a transgender woman.

Carlson’s “We’re back” Tweet earned him 375,000 “likes,” 41,000 “retweets,” and 20,000 “replies.”

Chanel Rion with One American News Tweeted out the analytics of her Twitter account:

“At one point I was growing 100k/month. Each post would get thousands of responses in minutes. Biden’s inauguration: Lost ~200k followers in a week – impressions cut 70%. Something clearly happened last night – not full stride but we’re #inthegreen

The list of those claiming shadow banning on Twitter is long.

Radio talk hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, who took over the Rush Limbaugh Show following Rush’s death, also reported they each have regained tens of thousands of Twitter followers just since Musk’s Twitter purchase was announced Monday. Clay Travis Tweeted:

“I’ve added 20k Twitter followers in the 48 hours since Elon Musk bought Twitter. Probably a coincidence:

Perhaps one of the biggest Twitter accounts, Donald Trump Jr., reported he gained 87,000 followers since Monday.

“While I’m awesome and totally deserving of 87,000 new followers a day it seems that someone took the shackles off my account. Wonder if they’re burning the evidence before new mgmt comes in?”

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

USC Student ‘Diversity’ Senator Under Fire for Tweet Threatening to Kill Zionists

A student “diversity” representative at the University of Southern California is under fire for a series of explosive tweets, including one that threatened to kill “every motherf–ing Zionist.”

Yasmeen Mashayekh, a “diversity, equity and inclusion” senator to the Viterbi Graduate Student Association posted the now-deleted tweet in May, according to Fox News.

The USC student has a history of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel tweets including one from June that said: “If you are not for the complete destruction of Israel and the occupation forces then you’re anti-Palestinian,” according to Fox.

She has also tweeted her support for Hamas, whose military wing is considered a terrorist organization. In May, Mashayekh tweeted “Yes I f–king love hamas now stfu,” Fox said.

“Zionists are going to f–king pay,” she reportedly said in a tweet on June 21.

Mashayekh doubled down on her tweets on a podcast by Palestine in America on Dec. 2, saying she feels no obligation to apologize.

More than 60 current and former USC faculty members drafted a letter to the school’s leadership, calling on them to “publicly and explicitly rebuke Yasmeen Mashayekh for her offensive behavior and to distance USC from her hateful statements.”

Click here to read the full article at NYPost

Silicon Valley’s Political Perils


FacebookLast week’s news underscored growing concerns over the politicization of tech companies. With his inimitable style, President Trump claimed on Twitter that Google shows political bias by skewing the news found in online searches. Relatedly, a group of some 100 conservative-leaning Facebook employees formed an online community to escape the strictures of a “political monoculture” and provide themselves a “safe” place for “ideological diversity” among their 25,000 co-workers.

It’s a truism that Silicon Valley leans left, but the average tech millionaire is not easy to pigeonhole ideologically. A revealing, if little-noted, 2017 study from Stanford University compared more than 600 “elite technology company leaders and founders,” 80 percent of them millionaires, with more than “1,100 elite partisan donors” of both political persuasions. The distinctions are revelatory for anyone interested in mapping the future of American politics. “Increasingly, technology entrepreneurs are using their personal wealth and firms’ power to exercise political influence,” the survey’s authors observe. “For example, recent federal candidates have referred to Silicon Valley as a ‘political ATM’.” The study found that 80 percent of tech millionaires overwhelmingly donate to Democrats over Republicans; hardly a surprising finding.

But the key reveal of the Stanford analysis is not about party alignment in donations: it’s in what can only be called a kind of political schizophrenia around the core ideologies associated with each party. On one hand, the study showed that Silicon Valley’s titans are firmly aligned with Democrats on social issues, what the survey calls “liberal redistributive, social, and globalistic policies.”  But on the other hand, the survey shows that the ideologies—if not the financial support—of tech millionaires solidly align with Republicans on issues relating to the regulatory environment, specifically around such topics as drones, data storage, self-driving cars, and employee policies.

This ideological rift prompted the Stanford researchers to conclude that tech’s business elites are donating politically against their “self-interest.” For analysts and political operatives, the question is whether that’s an immutable or malleable political reality. After all, it’s not just Republicans like President Trump attacking Silicon Valley; Senator Bernie Sanders, the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, is one of many in that caucus taking on the tech giants on “fairness” issues surrounding income inequality in general and Amazon CEO’s Jeff Bezos’s uber-wealth in particular.

It’s risky for companies to become identified with a specific political orientation. The recent evidence of a political tilt at numerous Silicon Valley firms—or at least among their leaders—has ignited controversy, not just in Washington but also in the tech community itself. At least one Valley executive worries that “political correctness” could hurt innovation, the mother’s milk of the tech sector. Google’s firing of engineer James Damore for raising questions about gender differences on an internal discussion board showed the willingness of tech companies to police political expression.

There is a real existential risk for tech companies to be found in the historical propensity of governments to declare new tech enterprises, especially new means of communication, as inherently monopolistic—and thus inherently unfair. Back in 1949, on the theory that radio broadcast companies had monopolistic control of that medium, Congress ordered broadcasters to “afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance.” The Fairness Doctrine would survive for nearly four decades, before it was revoked in 1987.

Some Democrats sought to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine a decade or so ago, in response to the rise of talk radio, which became overwhelmingly conservative after 1987. Now, some Republicans (and Democrats, too) are looking again at the notion of “fairness” in the context of the dominant market share enjoyed by the likes of Facebook or Google. Google’s global share of “search” has reached 90percent, and Senator Orrin Hatch has already sent a letter to the FTC to request an investigation of anti-competitive practices at the company.

When it comes to issues surrounding access to accurate and “fair” news and information in particular, the challenging question is whether anyone can easily see if there is (or isn’t) an algorithmic finger on the scale of fairness. In the history of the news business, this is an unprecedented concern. The designers and coders of the algorithms respond that the Web’s interstices are arcane and not easy for the layman to understand. In effect, the experts are saying: it’s complicated, so trust us. From a technical perspective, it would indeed be difficult to come up with a “user interface” that provided credible transparency about how news and information are curated or accessed on Web platforms. But one could have said the same thing, circa 1990, about converting the Arpanet’s technically arcane TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) into a Web system so simple that preschool children can use it now.

As Steve Jobs famously said two decades ago, “simple can be harder than complex.” But conquering complexity used to be what animated Silicon Valley. That is, in fact, how Google got started. It’s time to revive that zeitgeist, and make the power of news on the Internet not just easy to use, but easy to trust.