Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist with far-right conservative viewpoints, won a victory on Sunday morning when Elon Musk said he’d be restoring his account on the social media platform X.
Under its previous owners and old name, Twitter permanently banned Jones in 2018. The permanent ban came after an initial suspension of seven days on Twitter, and permanent bans by other tech companies such as Google’s YouTube, Apple and Facebook.
Jones, the host of the Infowars show, is most known for the conspiracy theory that the 2012 Connecticut school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was staged by actors.
In October 2022, Jones lost three separate defamation lawsuits filed by the parents of victims of the shooting, resulting in a $1.5 billion judgment against him. He subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
In reinstating Jones to X, Musk performed an about-face on a promise he made last year, when he said Jones wouldn’t be allowed back on the social media platform.
Just like he did when he reinstated former President Donald Trump, Musk polled users to see what they thought of the idea of reinstating Jones. The poll, posted on Saturday, received almost 2 million responses, with roughly 70% of those voting in favor of Jones returning to the platform.
That caused Musk to post from his X account Sunday: “The people have spoken and so it shall be.”
The people have spoken and so it shall be
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 10, 2023
The Associated Press reported that not long after Musk’s tweet, users could see Jones’ old posts once again. He was even active on the platform, re-tweeting a message about a video game.
Since Musk has taken over Twitter, and renamed it X, he and the company at large have faced plenty of backlash for new policies and procedures it’s instituted. Restoring the accounts of users banned under the previous regime is one of the big criticisms Musk has faced.
In June, X was accused by the Center for Countering Digital Hate of not doing enough to reel in hate speech. X officials have denied that’s the case, though, and fired back at the CCDH with a lawsuit that claims that made “false” claims against the platform.