HAfter Elon Musk bought Twitter, conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson returned to the platform after a suspension for “hateful conduct” for tweets that insisted a top transgender Administration official was a man. When Twitter reopened Carlson’s account on Monday, the host posted a simple Cheep: “We’re back.”
with musk vocation For more “free speech” on Twitter, the next question is, how long will it be before Twitter unblocks Donald Trump’s account as well? Twitter permanently suspended Trump two days after the storming of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 over concerns that Trump’s tweets to his 88 million followers put him at risk. “further incitement to violence.” Trump had repeatedly praised supporters who stormed the Capitol building and spread lies that the 2020 election had been stolen and that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reverse legitimate results. At the time, Trump was also suspended from YouTube and Facebook.
When Trump was banned from Twitter, he resorted to posting press releases via email and tried to launch his own social media platform. Coinciding with his removal from the Oval Office, Trump largely lost his unique ability to manipulate the news cycle with a single tweet. If Trump is allowed to return Twitter to Musk’s ownership, he would reactivate one of the most powerful accounts the platform has ever hosted. He would be better able to dominate the news again, mobilize supporters and opponents alike, and wield significant influence over the 2024 midterm and presidential elections, whether he runs or not.
For his part, Trump told Fox News he didn’t want to return to Twitter and would instead post messages on his beleaguered social media platform, TRUTH Social. “I’m not going to use Twitter, I’m going to stay in the TRUTH,” Trump told Fox News after Twitter accepted Musk’s $44 billion leveraged buyout offer to take Twitter private. But Trump may not follow through on that promise given the challenges TRUTH Social has had in building an audience, and given the power he once wielded on Twitter.
As president, Trump used his Twitter account to stoke division, spread misinformation, insult rivals, inform his own administration of policy decisions he had made, pressure prosecutors to punish his political enemies, and reprimand the judges who ruled against their allies. No person has had as much of an impact on a social media platform as when Trump was on Twitter, says Leysia Palen, a professor of data science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Palen has worked with a team of researchers to study how Trump used Twitter and track how his tweets would reverberate and touch on nearly every way information was consumed on the internet. Every time Trump tweeted, he “argued” in the online discussion about whatever issue he was weighing, Palen says, because of his large following and how often he was tweeting. When Trump tweets, he “makes the world of information that we rely on even more unreliable, even more erratic,” says Palen.
An effect of Trump’s Twitter could also potentially be seen in the upcoming election, experts say. Unlike other platforms, Twitter gave Trump access to much of his base “anytime, anytime, day or night,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. from Pennsylvania. If Twitter decides to restore Trump’s entire account and list of his followers, Trump would have immediate access to a large number of people who have already been identified as having an interest in him. That is very valuable real estate for political communications, says Jamieson. “If he wants to speak on behalf of a candidate that he has now endorsed in the midterms, being able to reach that number of people with messages that support those candidates is a way of essentially getting free ad time to reach people who have more money. odds of voting as a result of receiving a signal from Donald Trump,” says Jamieson.
Returning to Twitter could help Trump reconnect with his base, but others argue there could also be a backlash: Trump could further mobilize those who disagree with him. The fact that Trump is on Twitter may be a “gift” for President Joe Biden, “because when Donald Trump tweets, he’s saying things that alienate a lot of people,” says Lauren Wright, a political scientist at Princeton University. Wright says going back to Twitter would give Trump another megaphone, but given how well-known he already is, it may only provide him with a marginal benefit and could lead to more backlash. “He keeps saying these things that most of the American public doesn’t agree with, so that may not be good for his political support,” she says.
Since being banned from Twitter, Trump has turned to press releases and rallies to get his message out. He has criticized investigators who investigate his financial dealings and has promoted the candidacies of politicians who are willing to repeat his lies about voter fraud that cost him his election. He also used his presidential title to promote his properties and applauded himself for a hole in one on the golf course. Those could be more signs of what may happen if Trump decides to tweet again.
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