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10 Dec, 2023 19:19

Alex Jones allowed to tweet again

Right-wing figure has become the latest exile to be permitted to return to X by platform owner Elon Musk
Alex Jones allowed to tweet again

Elon Musk has confirmed that the right-wing US media personality Alex Jones is to return to the social media platform X, whose former owners had deplatformed the controversial provocateur five years ago for live-streaming a 10 minute rant at a CNN reporter that was deemed as harassment.

The contravention came after he had been suspended for claiming the Sandy Hook shootings had been orchestrated by the US government.

Musk has reinstated the accounts of several figures banned by the website’s previous management since he completed a multi-billion-dollar takeover last year. Files released by the billionaire show extensive US government influence over then-Twitter senior executives.

And, on Sunday, following a poll in which Musk asked X users to vote on whether Jones should be permitted to return to the service, it has been confirmed by the billionaire that the media figure is to join a growing list of formerly exiled users to make a comeback.

“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” Musk wrote on X, following the conclusion of the public poll, which showed that more than 70% of nearly two million respondents backed Jones’ return.

Musk has also restored the accounts of Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene and the satirical news outlet The Babylon Bee, among several others, during his ownership of the social media giant.

Jones’ account is once again active. He has yet to compose an original message, but has reposted several messages welcoming him back – including one from another controversial media figure, Andrew Tate. “To show respect to Alex Jones for his triumphant return and to show respect to Elon being a hero – tell a globalist to get f***** today,” Tate wrote on Sunday.

Jones, the founder of the conspiracy theory website InfoWars, was initially banned in 2018 after it was determined that he had breached rules regarding abusive behavior. He was also suspended from several other services, including YouTube and Facebook.

Musk had initially rejected calls to reinstate Jones soon after he acquired what was then Twitter in October 2022, saying that “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the death of children for gain, politics or fame.” 

Earlier this year, Jones was ordered to pay $1.5 billion in damages to family members of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, in which 20 children and six adults were killed, for falsely claiming that the event had been “staged.”

Writing on X on Saturday, Musk said that he “vehemently” disagreed with Jones’ past statement regarding Sandy Hook and that his return would be “bad for X financially” but asked “are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?”

Last month, Musk accused some of X’s major advertisers of attempting to blackmail him by removing their ad spend over concerns of growing anti-Semitism on the website.