Elon Musk has reinstated the social media account (referred to as X) of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, citing a poll on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, which favored the controversial Infowars host. The decision follows a recent trend of advertisers leaving X due to concerns about hate speech appearing alongside their advertisements. Jones, known for repeatedly claiming that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, becomes the latest divisive figure to regain access to a previously banned account.
Jones’ statements about the Sandy Hook tragedy led to legal action, with relatives of the victims winning judgments totaling nearly $1.5 billion in Connecticut and Texas. In October, a judge ruled that Jones could not use bankruptcy protection to avoid paying over $1.1 billion of that debt.
Musk conducted a poll on Saturday, seeking input on whether Jones should be reinstated. The results showed 70% in favor, prompting Musk to tweet on Sunday, “The people have spoken, and so it shall be.” Shortly after, Jones’ posts, dating back to 2018 when he was permanently banned, became visible again.
Despite Musk’s previous stance against bringing Jones back to the platform, he emphasized that the decision was about safeguarding free speech rights. Responding to a user who argued against permanent account bans, Musk acknowledged the difficulty in disagreeing with that point.
Additionally, Musk suggested that Community Notes, X’s crowd-sourced fact-checking service, would promptly address any Alex Jones post requiring correction. This move contradicts Musk’s earlier statement indicating he wouldn’t reinstate Jones.
Notably, Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, had previously condemned using the deaths of children for personal gain, politics, or fame, citing the loss of his own first-born child last year.