Elon Musk is reportedly floating the idea of allowing Alex Jones to return to the platform nearly a year after vowing he wouldn’t reverse the ban instilled under the previous Twitter administration. Musk personally responded to a post by The Publica co-founder Jeremy “The Quartering” Hambly yesterday, claiming that he would “consider” a reversal.
Musk first took over X, then still known as Twitter, in 2022 and made freedom of speech one of his policy priorities. Soon after the acquisition, Musk began directing his staff to reinstate accounts that were banned under the previous Twitter policies unless they had broken the law or committed egregious platform manipulation. As a result, a number of high-profile accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump, were allowed to resume their use of the platform.
But the InfoWars founder was one of a select few accounts that remained permanently suspended, resulting in repeat calls for Jones to be allowed back on in accordance with Musk’s purported commitment to freedom of speech.
Last year, Musk publicly refused requests from users demanding Jones be reinstated, first simply stating “no,” and then articulating his strong feelings about Jones’ involvement in the Sandy Hook controversy.
“My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat,” Musk replied to Kim Dotcom. “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics, or fame.”
But just one year later, Musk’s sentiment appears to have changed, with the Tesla CEO softening to the idea of allowing Jones to return to the platform.
On December 7, The Publica co-founder Jeremy “The Quartering” Hambly renewed discussion about Jones’ place on X, tagging Musk in a post speculating that “letting Alex Jones back on X would make the machine rage.” Hambly had been quoting another user who uploaded a short video announcing Jones’ interview with Tucker Carlson.
In contrast to his previous responses on the subject, Musk replied: “Will consider. In general, since this platform aspires to be the global town square, permanent bans should be extremely rare.” He then stated he wanted to hold a poll on the reinstatement.
Hambly replied: “I think the poll is the best way. Lock it to [X] premium users to keep the bots out. Thank you for considering it.”
Another user, TexasLindsay, responded to Musk with more context on why Jones had been suspended in the first place.
“Alex Jones was suspended by Twitter 1.0 for saying CNN’s Oliver Darcy had the ‘eyes of a rat,'” she said, explaining that it was later discovered that Darcy was an “informant” for the pre-Musk Trust and Safety Team, secretly flagging users and posts.
“That is certainly not a valid reason for suspension,” Musk replied.
The sudden shift in Musk’s attitude towards the prospect of reinstating Jones has left many speculating that the InfoWars star will soon be back on the platform.
While Musk has continued to be vocal about X’s purported dedication to freedom of speech, some users began to question the mantra after he selected Linda Yaccarino to fill his role as the platform’s CEO.
Following her appointment, Yaccarino, who sits on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee, quickly began to assure advertisers that “appropriate steps” were being taken to reduce the spread of “hate speech” on the site.
“Recently we’ve expanded our Freedom of Speech Not Reach policy enforcement because we’re seeing exceptional results,” Yaccarino posted in July. “For example, in comparison to a healthy tweet, any tweet that’s labeled with this enforcement is restricted from scaling and experiences a dramatic drop in reach of more than 80%. Additionally, we proactively prevent all ads from appearing adjacent to any content that’s labeled.”
Some new safety features to appease advertisers’ apparent concerns include allowing them to browse content and select which Tweets are best suited for their ads. In addition, as Financial Times reports, Twitter plans to introduce a video ads service and bring more celebrities, political figures, and content creators to the platform in order sell more ads.
While advertising revenue has reportedly dropped 50% since Elon Musk purchased the social media platform for $44 billion last year, Yaccarino hopes her plans will help make up lost revenue and build trust with advertisers.