- Conservatives have asked Elon Musk to restore former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
- Musk disclosed a 9.2% stake in Twitter on Monday that makes him the company’s largest shareholder.
- The Tesla CEO has publicly taken issue with Twitter’s content-moderation rules.
Conservative figures are urging Elon Musk to allow former President Donald Trump back on Twitter following Monday’s announcement that the Tesla CEO had bought a 9.2% stake in the social-media giant.
In the days before the announcement, Musk had tweeted several times questioning the platform’s content-moderation rules and musing on whether a new social-media platform was needed.
On March 25, he also tweeted an informal survey asking his followers whether Twitter had adhered to the principle that free speech was essential to a “functioning democracy.” Of the roughly 2 million respondents to the poll, 70.4% voted no.
With Musk becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder, requests to reinstate Trump’s account — which was permanently suspended on January 9, 2021, after the Capitol insurrection — started to surface Monday evening.
“Great job Elon Musk! Now reinstate President Trump!” the conservative author Brigitte Gabriel tweeted.
“Now that @ElonMusk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift the political censorship. Oh… and BRING BACK TRUMP!” GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado wrote.
Errol Webber, a Republican “America First” candidate running for a California House seat, said “everyone” who had been barred from Twitter should be reinstated.
—Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) April 4, 2022
“Will the new majority shareholder return freedom of speech to Twitter?” wrote Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who said the act would “require courage” because “the regime is heavily investing in a certain industry and threats will undoubtedly come.”
“Yet the freedom of speech restored will enable us all to defeat them,” Greene added.
Conservatives in particular have long taken issue with large social-media companies’ content-moderation policies. Critics, including Musk, often frame such policies in terms of free speech, though the First Amendment’s protection from censorship applies to government restrictions and not ones from private companies like Twitter.
Trump’s Twitter account was permanently suspended over the company’s concerns over “the risk of further incitement of violence” in the wake of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The former president has since created his own social-media platform, Truth Social, which he has touted as an alternative to mainstream social-media sites. The platform experienced technical difficulties at its launch in February.
While Musk had not directly addressed the requests as of Monday evening, the Tesla CEO alluded to his new Twitter shares again by surveying users on whether they wanted a button on the platform to edit their tweets and comments.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
It is not immediately clear how much control Musk seeks to exercise over the social-media platform. As Bloomberg noted, the billionaire owns what is considered a “passive” stake in Twitter — which usually indicates an investor doesn’t intend to take an active role influencing the company.
Musk could still reconsider his position and file to take a more active stance in the company, as Bloomberg reported.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.