NEWS21 November 2022

Trump Twitter ban lifted after Musk ‘poll’

News North America Technology

US – Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, has reinstated the Twitter account of former US president Donald Trump following a vote on the platform. 

Twitter HQ

Musk used the social media network's polling feature, which allows users to ask their own followers a simple ‘yes/no’ question, to ask people to vote on whether Donald Trump should be reinstated on the website.

The online vote saw a slim majority in favour ( 51.8%), with over 15 million users taking part in the vote. In a tweet, Musk acknowledged that the vote was affected by automated bots and suggested that Twitter may need to "clean up" future polls.

The use of the polling feature prompted discussion from the research industry on LinkedIn.

Jonathan (JD) Deitch, chief people officer at Cint, posted: "A Twitter poll is not representative of anything except for bots and ones followers. Elon surely knows this and doesn't care."

Guillaime Weill, founder and president at Woulloo, wrote: "People working with data and insights have a true responsibility. We must believe in ourselves. This is essential to democracy and peace." 

Also commenting on the move on LinkedIn, Aleksandra Melnikova, co-founder at Cosmic Velocity, posted: "When someone tells you there’s a "majority vote" do ask about "the majority of what". When someone tells you "80% of people prefer something or do something", ask about the sample size, because that may well be four people in a Twitter conversation."

Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account in January 2021 following the riots at the US Capitol. The company took the decision to remove the account "due to the risk of further incitement of violence" and because it determined that tweets posted by Trump violated its guidelines.

After Musk acquired Twitter in October, he announced that the company would form a "content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints" and that no major decisions about content or account reinstatements would take place before the council had convened.

In recent weeks, several senior Twitter executives have left the company, including chief information security officer Lea Kissner, who publicly announced their decision to depart on 10th November.