Former President Donald Trump is just one of many notable figures banned on Twitter in recent years who could be reinstated now that maverick billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media company is complete.
While Trump said he’s “very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands,” he downplayed the possibility of rejoining the service, preferring for now to stay on his own platform, TruthSocial.
Musk may also pardon the Babylon Bee, a satirical news site whose account was suspended in March over a tweet that called a transgender Biden administration official “Man of the Year,” a reference to the biological male being named one of USA Today’s “Women of the Year.”
Leading up to his buyout, Musk criticized Twitter’s moderation policies as politically biased against conservatives.
And now that he’s in charge, he plans to abolish Twitter’s practice of permanent bans, or permabans, according to Bloomberg, which have been most prominently applied to Trump and other conservative leaders.
Musk also said that “anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail” when Canadian intellectual Jordan Peterson’s daughter asked if her father will be allowed back on the platform.
Peterson was effectively banned over the summer when he refused to delete a tweet that used actor Elliot Page’s pre-gender-transition name, Ellen, and said the actor “just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician,” as reported by the New York Post.
Two other contenders for unbanning are radio host Alex Jones and his media company, InfoWars, which were both permanently banned from Twitter and multiple other services in 2018.
At the time, Twitter stated Jones and InfoWars were being banned for violations of its “abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations.” The longtime conspiracy theorist had been particularly under fire for claiming the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, a falsehood for which a court recently ordered him to pay nearly $1 billion.
Two early Trump allies, Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, could also be pardoned from their life sentences in Twitter jail.
Stone, who advised Trump in his 2016 presidential campaign, was permanently banned in 2017 after a crude tweetstorm targeting journalists, including CNN anchor Don Lemon, as reported by Buzzfeed News. Shortly after Musk began his buyout in April, Stone attempted a return to Twitter, but his new account was also permanently banned within minutes, the Daily Beast reported.
Bannon, another campaign advisor who briefly served in Trump’s cabinet, was banned in 2020 after he said on his own show that he would put the heads of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci “on pikes,” as reported by NPR.
Another Trump ally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), could see her personal account come back online. She had already gotten four “strikes” from Twitter when she was banned in early 2022 for tweeting about “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths,” which violated Twitter’s COVID misinformation policy, according to the New York Times.
The day Musk’s deal closed, Greene tweeted from her government account “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!!” and “Just wait until tomorrow.”