Elon Musk has reinstated the X profile of Alex Jones, a proponent of conspiracy theories, based on a poll conducted on the social media site formerly known as Twitter. The poll showed support for the host of Infowars, who has repeatedly claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.
This presents a new challenge for advertisers, as they have left X due to worries about their ads being placed next to hate speech. It is also the most recent controversial figure to have their suspended account reinstated.
On Saturday, Musk shared a survey inquiring whether Jones should be restored, and the outcome revealed that 70% of participants were in favor. On Sunday morning, Musk tweeted, “The people have spoken and their decision will be honored.”
After a couple of hours, Jones’ posts reappeared and he shared a tweet about his video game. His Infowars show had been permanently removed in 2018 due to harmful conduct.
Elon Musk, who has identified himself as a supporter of free speech without limitations, stated that the decision was made to safeguard these rights. In reply to a user’s comment that “permanently banning accounts goes against the principles of free speech,” Musk agreed with the statement.
The wealthy individual who leads Tesla also posted on Twitter that it is probable that Community Notes, which is a fact-checking service powered by the public, will quickly address any posts made by AJ that require corrections.
This marks a significant change in stance for Musk, as he had previously stated that he would not allow Jones to return to the platform despite numerous requests. In the past, Musk had cited the passing of his own child and tweeted, “I have no sympathy for those who exploit the loss of children for personal gain, political agendas, or fame.”
Jones has consistently stated on his program that the tragic 2012 incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six educators lost their lives, did not actually occur and was instead orchestrated to promote stricter gun control measures.
Family members of numerous victims filed lawsuits against Jones in both Connecticut and Texas, resulting in judgments totaling nearly $1.5 billion against him. In October, a judge determined that Jones would not be able to declare bankruptcy in order to avoid paying over $1.1 billion of that debt.
Family members of the victims of the school shooting gave testimony during the trials, detailing instances of harassment and threats from followers of Jones. These individuals sent threatening messages and even confronted the grieving families in person, falsely accusing them of being “crisis actors” and claiming that their children were not real.
Jones is challenging the rulings, claiming that he did not receive impartial trials and that his speech was shielded by the First Amendment.
Jones’ account has been restored amidst a wave of major companies, such as Disney and IBM, halting their advertisements on X. This decision was made following a report from the liberal group Media Matters, which revealed that ads were being displayed alongside pro-Nazi content and posts promoting white nationalism.
After Musk publicly supported an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X, he received backlash and caused others to be fearful. He later apologized and traveled to Israel, where he visited a kibbutz that was targeted by Hamas and met with important Israeli officials.
However, he has also accused advertisers of resorting to “blackmail” and, in a vulgar manner, essentially advised them to leave.
During an on-stage interview at The New York Times DealBook Summit last month, Musk stated, “Do not advertise.”
Last year, Musk announced that he was offering “amnesty” to suspended accounts after purchasing Twitter. He has since restored the accounts of former President Donald Trump, rapper formerly known as Kanye West (now Ye), and far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. These individuals had previously been suspended for posting antisemitic content and violating the platform’s policies on COVID-19 misinformation.
Trump, who was banned for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, has his own social media site, Truth Social, and has only tweeted once since being allowed back on X.