Elon Musk’s social media platform restored InfoWars host Alex Jones’s account over the weekend years after it was permanently suspended from Twitter, now known as X.
It came after Mr. Musk held a poll on X asking users if Mr. Jones should be reinstated on the social media platform. Nearly 70 percent of respondents voted “yes” that his account should be restored.
“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” Mr. Musk wrote on Sunday.
Hours after the poll was conducted, Mr. Jones’s account was again visible and he had re-posted a comment about his new video game. His account began accumulating followers and currently has about 1 million. He has yet to post anything original.
Mr. Jones’s account with username “@RealAlexJones” now shows his last original post was on Sept. 6, 2018, the same day the social media platform’s previous owners permanently banned his account and his website, Infowars, saying they had violated its behavior policies.
It’s not clear if the InfoWars X account was reinstated.
Mr. Musk, who has said he is a free speech absolutist, wrote that the move was about protecting free speech. He has previously said that permanent suspensions should be used sparingly.
In response to an X user who wrote that “permanent account bans are antithetical to free speech,” Mr. Musk wrote: “I find it hard to disagree with this point.”
Right after Mr. Musk’s takeover, the social media platform implemented several modifications, including changing its name and revisiting its policies. It also reinstated previously suspended accounts including that of former President Donald Trump, who was suspended in early 2021, but the 45th president has only posted once on X, instead opting to use his own Truth Social platform.
Mr. Musk has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision would be made with the consideration of a content moderation council composed of people with “widely diverse viewpoints” and no account reinstatements would happen before the council convened.
Separately, Mr. Musk in November cursed out advertisers that have fled X over content that they have deemed objectionable. Multiple firms, such as Disney, Comcast, and IBM, have confirmed they won’t be advertising any more on the platform.
The Tesla CEO said at the event that those advertisers are trying “blackmail” him. “Don’t advertise,” Mr. Musk also said.
“Go [expletive] yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey, Bob, if you’re in the audience,” he added, in an apparent reference to Bog Iger, chief executive of Disney.
The move from Disney, meanwhile, drew particular condemnation from Mr. Musk, who called on the company to fire Mr. Iger, in a series of posts last week. Disney and Mr. Iger, he added, are engaging hypocrisy by continuing to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, after New Mexico authorities filed a lawsuit against parent firm Meta Platforms for not doing enough to protect children from sexual predators.
“He should be fired immediately,” wrote Mr. Musk in response to another user’s comment. “Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company.”
Last week, a user pointed out that Disney appears to still be advertising on Meta’s social media platforms, drawing criticism from the X owner. “Bob thinks it’s cool to advertise next to child exploitation material. Real stand up guy,” Mr. Musk wrote in response.
Allowing Mr. Jones back on the platform is a turnaround for Mr. Musk, who had previously stated that he wouldn’t do so due to his claims made about the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.
Last year, Mr. Musk pointed to the death one of his children and wrote: “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.”
It comes as Mr. Jones filed for bankruptcy in December 2022 after being ordered to pay around $1.5 billion in damages for his Sandy Hook claims. Mr. Jones has appealed judgments in connection to lawsuits that were filed by the families, saying he didn’t get fair trials and that his speech was lawful under the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Families of the Sandy Hook families last month offered to settle the debt for at least $85 million over 10 years, according to court filings. The offer was made in Mr. Jones’s personal bankruptcy case in Texas.
During a court hearing in Houston, Mr. Jones’s personal bankruptcy lawyer, Vickie Driver, said that the offer was too high and unrealistic for him to pay. “There are no financials that will ever show that Mr. Jones ever made that … in 10 years,” she said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times