Trump's back on Twitter. A victory for free speech?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

Elon Musk over the weekend announced that he was lifting Twitter's ban on former President Donald Trump, whose account was "permanently" suspended after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack for what Twitter described as violations of its policies against inciting violence. Musk has vowed to make Twitter a haven for absolute freedom of speech, and he said his decision to reinstate Trump's account was a victory for democracy, because Twitter users who participated in an online poll narrowly favored letting Trump tweet again. "The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated," Musk tweeted. "Vox Populi, Vox Dei."

Trump now has his own social network, Truth Social, and says there's no reason for him to return to Twitter. Still, Musk's decision met a barrage of criticism from people who said giving Trump the option of returning proves that Musk is clearing the way for more misinformation and hate speech on Twitter, noting that racist memes and slurs increased on the platform in the weeks after Musk completed his takeover. Employees say Musk's promise to protect the right "to speak freely within the bounds of the law" has led him to chip away at the trust and safety team responsible for policing content. Is restoring Trump's Twitter account a victory for free speech, or hate speech?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.