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The account of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was restored on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday after owner Elon Musk conducted a poll among followers on Saturday and pronounced: “The People have spoken and so it shall be.”
“This will be bad for X financially, but principles matter more than money,” he added.
It’s a reversal of a 2018 decision by the social media platform’s former management after Jones promoted hate speech and antisemitic conspiracy theories and elevated extremist voices.
On Saturday, Musk asked his followers in an unscientific poll whether Jones – who has falsely claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was “staged” – should come back. In a video, Jones also asked his followers to vote for his return. About 70% in the X poll said yes.
Musk, who has himself supported conspiracy theories on the platform since he bought it in 2022, had previously backed a ban on Jones. In Musk’s post announcing the change, he said he still “vehemently” disagreed with Jones about Sandy Hook but backed his decision on free speech grounds.
Jones’s first move after the reinstatement was to repost a message from Andrew Tate, an influencer who has been charged with rape and human trafficking, that welcomed Jones back to the social media site.
Jones remains banned from other major social media sites.
Musk ignited a firestorm among advertisers in November after amplifying antisemitic tropes, causing many to flee. He later apologized for an antisemitic tweet but not before an expletive-filled rant in which he told advertisers who have pulled their money to “go f— yourself.”
That controversy was just the latest incident in the rise of far-right speech on the platform after X dramatically loosened its content moderation rules.
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