Donald Trump on Saturday (Nov 20) said that he had no interest in returning to Twitter even as a slim majority voted in favour of reinstating the former United States president, who was banned from the social media service for inciting violence, in a poll organised by new owner Elon Musk.
With less than 40 minutes before the poll closed, about 14.8 million Twitter users had voted, with 51.8 per cent voting in favour of the reinstatement.
“I don’t see any reason for it,” the former president said via video when asked whether he planned to return to Twitter by a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.
He said that he would stick with his platform Truth Social, the app developed by his Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) start-up, which he said had better user engagement than Twitter and was doing “phenomenally well”.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump, who on Tuesday launched a bid to regain the White House in 2024, praised Musk and said he had always liked him. But Trump also said Twitter suffered from bots and fake accounts, and that the problems it faced were “incredible”.
Musk first said in May that he planned to reverse the ban on Trump, and the timing of any return by Trump was closely watched – and feared – by many of Twitter’s advertisers.
Musk has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision would be made with consideration by a content moderation council composed of people with “widely diverse viewpoints” and that no account reinstatements would happen before the council convened.
He also said that Twitter would not reinstate any banned users until there was a “clear process for doing so”.
But this week, Musk reinstated comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been banned for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk”, which violated his new rule against impersonation without indicating that it was a parody account.
There has been no new information about process or the moderation council.
NO REASON TO RETURN
A no-show by Trump could reduce concerns among major advertisers, who are already rattled by Musk’s drastic reshaping of Twitter.
He has halved the workforce and severely cut the company’s trust and safety team, which is responsible for preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content.
These actions and Musk’s tweeting have pushed major companies to halt advertising on the site as they monitor how the platform handles hate speech.
On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Twitter could fire more employees in its sales and partnership divisions, citing unnamed sources, just days after a mass resignation of engineers.
If Trump returned to Twitter, the move would raise questions about his commitment to Truth Social, which launched on Apple’s App Store in February and Google’s Play Store in October. Trump has about 4.57 million followers on Truth Social.
Truth Social has been Trump’s main source of direct communication with his followers since he began posting on the app regularly in May. He has used Truth Social to promote his allies, criticizse opponents and defend his reputation amid legal scrutiny from state, congressional and federal investigators.
His agreement with the company, however, opens the door for Trump to engage extensively on other platforms.
Trump is obligated to give Truth Social a six-hour exclusive on any post – but is free to post “political messaging, political fundraising or get-out-the vote efforts” on any site, at any time, according to a May Securities and Exchange Commission filing.