Billionaire X owner Elon Musk posted a poll to the platform Saturday asking whether conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should have his account reinstated more than five years after he was permanently banned—with reinstatement receiving overwhelming support in the poll as of Saturday afternoon.
The poll was posted to X at 11:58 a.m. EST Saturday, simply asking, “Reinstate Alex Jones on this platform?”
As of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, 70% of the roughly 1 million users who had voted in the poll supported reinstating Jones.
Jones and his company, InfoWars, was banned from the platform, then called Twitter, in 2018—with Twitter citing posts he made violating the abusive behavior policy.
The day prior to his banning, Jones posted a video of himself berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for about 10 minutes between congressional hearings in the U.S. Capitol.
Forbes has reached out to InfoWars for comment.
Along with the poll, Musk wrote “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” which is a Latin proverb meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of god.” He has posted this proverb on previous occasions in which he put out a poll.
After acquiring Twitter in October 2022 and subsequently renaming it X, Musk has brought a number of controversial figures back onto the platform. In November 2022, he posted a similar poll about bringing back former President Donald Trump, who was banned after Twitter determined he used social media posts to help incite the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots. Users voted in favor of his reinstatement, but Trump has only made one post since he was allowed back—a photo of his mugshot after he turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail in August. Musk has granted amnesty to almost all banned accounts.
Jones is a radio show host and owner of InfoWars, a right-wing media company. Jones has long been criticized for promoting conspiracy theories and outright falsehoods. The Anti-Defamation League said he “breathlessly and stridently champions a litany of absurdities.” After the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people—including 20 students—were shot and killed, Jones began baselessly claiming that the incident never happened and that the grieving families were actors. The families eventually sued him for defamation, and in 2022, after a series of court rulings in Connecticut and Texas, Jones was ordered to pay the families over $1 billion collectively. Jones also played a role in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots, in which a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory. The special congressional commission tasked with investigating the riots found that Jones helped organize the rally. Most recently, on Thursday, he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on X.
On May 23, 2021, Elon Musk, billionaire and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, suggested that tech giant Twitter could reinstate controversial far-right personality Alex Jones into its platform in the next 5 years.
Twitter permanently banned Jones and his media outlets Infowars from its platform in 2018. Despite the ban being in place for over three years, Musk believes Twitter should reconsider its actions in the near future.
Jones rose to prominence for his extreme conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric, and recently has been making headlines for his role in the QAnon conspiracy theory. Twitter defended its decision to ban him in 2018 by citing their rules against abuse and hate speech.
The suggestion from Musk sparked a great deal of controversy on Twitter. Many criticized Musk for equating Jones to any other person, while many thanked him for putting the issue of Jones’s Twitter ban into the limelight.
Musk used his influence to emphasize his point that Jones should be allowed back onto the platform and that he himself should be reinstated following the ban. He even cited the First Amendment as a primary reason for allowing the reinstatement.
Though Twitter has yet to make a statement about Musk’s suggestion, it’s clear the tech giant will be facing increased public pressure to reinstate Jones in the upcoming years. All eyes are now on Musk to see if his suggestion will spur any real action from Twitter in the next five years.