Criticism of Musk’s Twitter vote on Trump
11/20/2022, 5:27 p.m
Controversial former US President Trump is allowed to tweet again – after an online vote, Twitter’s new owner Musk has unlocked the previously banned account. But there is a criticism of this approach: it is not compatible with “democratic customs”.
Former President Donald Trump regained access to Twitter after users of the network voted for him. The vote was initiated by the new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk. Just minutes after a small percentage of daily active users voted in favor, Trump’s profile was reinstated. However, there are criticisms of this approach.
Political scientist Ingrid Schneider, a professor at the University of Hamburg, criticized the fact that Trump’s readmission through an online Twitter poll corresponded to “non-representative democratic practices”. “The ‘poll’ could easily have ended at a time when the ‘result’ would have been satisfactory to Musk,” Schneider said in response to a question from the Science Media Center.
In addition, bots—automated programs that only pretend to be a real user—could have participated in the survey, and criticized Schneider. “Musk recently wanted to put together a committee to decide whether to reinstate Trump, and now he’s resolving that question quickly and in a semi-democratic mantle.”
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The political scientist is also criticizing another tweet from Musk commenting on the poll. In it, Musk wrote, “Vox populi vox Dei” — literally translated, it means “the voice of the people, [ist] God’s voice. The quote comes from a letter to Charlemagne written by one of his advisers around the year 798. Musk should have read the entire sentence surrounding that quote, according to Schneider. The German translation reads, “Auf you don’t have to listen to those who say, ‘The voice of the people, the voice of God,'” Because the public’s addiction to noise always verges on insanity.”
After Musk reactivated Trump’s Twitter profile, his follower count quickly rose to nearly 86 million. Before he was banned, Trump had more than 88 million followers. But in an initial reaction, Trump wasn’t entirely convinced by the idea of using Twitter again. “I don’t see any reason for that,” he said during a Republican event, which he linked to via video. He will remain loyal to his own platform, Truth Social. Almost 4.6 million users follow him there.
Closing after the Capitol storm
As president, Twitter has been one of Trump’s primary means of spreading his controversial policies and views. Shortly before his term ended, he was suspended by the then owners of Twitter on January 8, 2021. His behavior and comments on Twitter about the storming of the US Capitol in Washington two days earlier were crucial.
Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion at the end of October. The billionaire and founder of electric car maker Tesla has previously announced that he wants to unblock Trump on Twitter.