Elon Musk considers reinstating Alex Jones’ X account, backtracking on prior decision

C.E.O. of Tesla, Chief Engineer of SpaceX and C.T.O. of X Elon Musk takes the stage during the New York Times annual DealBook summit on November 29, 2023 in New York City. 

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Elon Musk said Thursday that he’d consider letting Alex Jones back onto X, nearly a year after vowing he wouldn’t reverse a ban on the conspiracy theorist best known for claiming that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

“Will consider,” Musk said in a Thursday post on X, in response to a user who mentioned the idea of Jones coming back. “In general, since this platform aspires to be the global town square, permanent bans should be extremely rare.”

Musk said that if someone “does say something false on this platform,” the comment will be corrected by the Community Notes feature, “whereas that would not be the case elsewhere.” He then signaled his intent to hold a poll on X about whether Jones should return.

Jones is booked as an upcoming guest on Tucker Carlson’s show on X. While at Fox, Carlson hosted what the New York Times called possibly the “most racist show in the history of cable news.” News of Jones’s appearance has raised questions about whether the Infowars host would be allowed back on the platform.

Twitter, under previous leadership, permanently banned Jones and other Infowars accounts in 2018 due to violations of the company’s abusive behavior policies. Musk purchased Twitter — now X — in 2022 and reinstated some high-profile banned accounts, including that of former President Donald Trump.

However, Musk replied “no” to a user who wrote in a post last year, “Bring back Alex Jones!!!”

“My firstborn child died in my arms,” Musk wrote in another post. “I felt his last heartbeat. I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.”

Justine Musk, the child’s mother and Elon’s ex-wife, clarified at the time that it was, “A SIDS-related incident that put him on life support. He was declared brain-dead.” She added that, “I was the one who was holding him.”

After a mass shooter killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, Jones touted the conspiracy theory that the shooting never happened and called it an effort by activists to bring about strict gun laws in the U.S. Some relatives of the victims suffered harassment and were threatened by Jones’ followers, who accused them of being “crisis actors.”

Jones filed for bankruptcy protection after a Connecticut judge ordered him to pay almost $1.5 billion to families of the shooting victims. The families then offered to settle with him for a lower amount of at least $85 million over the next decade.

Advertisers including Apple and Disney recently paused their campaigns on X after Musk amplified and agreed with antisemitic posts. In an interview at the 2023 DealBook Summit in New York last week, Musk hurled obscenities at advertisers who were suspending campaigns on X, accusing them of trying to “blackmail” him.

A spokesperson for X didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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