Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Donald Trump said on Saturday he had no interest in returning to Twitter, even though a slim majority voted to reinstate the former US president, who has been banned from the social network for inciting violence, in a poll organized by new owner Elon Musk.

Just over 15 million Twitter users voted in the poll, with 51.8% voting to bring it back.

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“The people said. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk wrote on Twitter.

Trump seemed less enthusiastic earlier in the day.

“I don’t see any reason to,” the former president said via video when asked if he planned to return to Twitter on a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.

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He said he would stick with his new platform Truth Social, an app developed by his startup Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), 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 win back the White House in 2024, praised Musk and said he had always liked him. But Trump also said Twitter was suffering from bots, fake accounts and that the problems it was facing were “unbelievable”.

Musk first said in May that he planned to overturn the ban on Trump, and the timing of any Trump comeback has been closely watched — and feared — by many Twitter advertisers.

The billionaire has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision will be reviewed by a content moderation panel made up of people with “very different viewpoints” and that account reopenings will not happen until the panel meets.

He also said that Twitter will not reinstate any banned users until there is a “clear procedure for doing so”.

Click to play video: 'Twitter turmoil: Elon Musk's ultimatum causes mass resignations, office closures'

Twitter turmoil: Elon Musk’s ultimatum causes mass resignations, office closures

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But this week, Musk reinstated comedian Kathy Griffin, who was banned for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk” in violation of his new anti-impersonation rule without indicating that it was a parody account. There is no new information about the process or the moderation council.

Trump’s no-show could ease concerns among major advertisers, who are already upset by Musk’s drastic reshaping of Twitter.

He cut the workforce in half and severely cut the company’s trust and security team, which is responsible for preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content.

These actions and Musk’s tweeting have prompted major companies to halt advertising on the site as they monitor how the platform handles hate speech.

On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Twitter could lay off more employees in its sales and partnerships divisions, citing unnamed sources, just days after a mass resignation of engineers.

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If Trump returns 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.

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Truth Social has been Trump’s main source of direct communication with his followers since he began posting regularly on the app in May. He used Truth Social to promote his allies, criticize opponents and defend his reputation amid legal scrutiny from state, congressional and federal investigators.

However, his contract with the company opens the door for Trump to engage heavily on other platforms. Trump is required to give Truth Social six hours of exclusive time for any post — but is free to post “political messages, political fundraising or get-out-the-vote efforts” on any site, at any time, according to an SEC filing from May .

(Reporting by Sheila Dang and Helen Coster; Additional reporting by Jim Oliphant; Writing by Shankar Ramakrishnan; Editing by Kenneth Li and Daniel Wallis)