Alex Jones is back on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Last week, Elon Musk said he would “consider” bringing Jones back to the platform following an interview the conspiracy theorist did on Tucker Carlson’s show, which is uploaded directly to X. Over the weekend Musk put the decision to a poll, which overwhelmingly favored bringing Jones back to the social media platform more than five years after he was then-permanently suspended.
“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” Musk responded when the poll closed. Moments later, Alex Jones’ account was reinstated.
On Monday, the official account for Alex Jones’ website, InfoWars, was also reinstated on the platform.
Many controversial accounts are back on X
Alex Jones is far from the first controversial individual Musk brought back to the platform after previously being suspended before Musk acquired the company.
In fact, on Sunday, Musk took part in an X Spaces audio chat which featured Alex Jones and other such users who were previously suspended on the platform like Andrew Tate, an influencer facing rape and human trafficking charges, and Laura Loomer, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who went viral after handcuffing herself to then-Twitter’s New York headquarters to protest being banned from the platform in 2018.
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Other notable attendees to the Spaces chat showed just how widespread the swathe of formerly banned users encompasses. For example, the Krassenstein brothers were taking part in the Spaces chat. Both Ed and Brian Krassenstein were suspended under the old Twitter regime in 2019 before being reinstated under Musk. They had not been suspended for hate speech or violent rhetoric, but for allegedly manipulating the platform with fake accounts.
Of course, the handful of formerly suspended users who were in the Spaces was just a small sample of the accounts that Musk has brought back.
Back in November of last year, just weeks after the Twitter acquisition, Musk polled the user base about bringing back former president Donald Trump, who was suspended following the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The poll found the majority who took part were in favor of bringing him back, so Musk did.
Around that same time, Musk also brought back other users such as right-wing commentator Jordan Peterson, who was suspended under Twitter’s since-removed harassment policies regarding deadnaming transgender individuals, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, the U.S. Congresswoman who was suspended under Twitter’s medical misinformation policies which are now also nonexistent under Musk.
Here’s why Alex Jones’s return is significant
Alex Jones became a more mainstream name over the years, as he became a major supporter of Donald Trump. The former-president even appears on Jones’ program. However, most likely know Jones for his biggest controversy regarding the Sandy Hook school shooting. Jones’ claimed that the shooting was a false flag and the parents and children involved were crisis actors. His remarks inspired some of his supporters to harass the families of the victims of the shooting. Over the past few years, Jones has lost a series of lawsuits to the parents of the Sandy Hook children.
However, for the most part, Jones isn’t much different from many users on Musk’s platform today.
“Looking at the state of conservative discourse in the mainstream, there is no function that Jones offers that is not filled already by a hundred commenters,” extremism researcher Jared Holt posted on X. “It would be bad, but purely symbolic at this point. He is a shell of who he used to be.”
Jones’s return is significant, however. But not because of anything Jones has done. It’s significant because Musk was previously so adamant against bringing him back.
“I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame,” Musk explained last year as to why he wasn’t going to bring Alex Jones back. Musk even referenced the death of his own child to emphasize his feelings on the matter.
Musk has now completely changed his mind on an issue he once felt so strongly about. And, he has done so amid an advertiser boycott which he has admitted could potentially kill the company.
Alex Jones’s return to the platform may or may not drive other advertisers away. That remains to be seen. But it likely won’t do anything to bring back advertisers who’ve already left due to Musk’s endorsement of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
Last week, Elon Musk announced that he would consider bringing back Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist, to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Musk’s decision came after Jones appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show, which is uploaded directly to X. Musk then put the decision to a poll, and the majority favored bringing Jones back to the platform. Shortly after the poll closed, Jones’ account was reinstated. On Monday, the official account for Jones’ website, InfoWars, was also reinstated on X. This move is not the first time Musk has brought back controversial individuals to the platform, as he has previously reinstated the accounts of Andrew Tate, Laura Loomer, the Krassenstein brothers, Donald Trump, Jordan Peterson, and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Jones’ return to the platform is significant because Musk was previously adamant against bringing him back, citing his use of the deaths of children for gain and politics. However, Musk has now changed his mind, even amid an advertiser boycott that could potentially harm the company. Jones is known for his controversial remarks regarding the Sandy Hook school shooting, which led to harassment of the victims’ families. Despite this, Jones’ return is not seen as significant in terms of the state of conservative discourse on the platform, as there are already many users who fill the same role as Jones.