Lazy eyes listen
Elon Musk, the owner of X (previously Twitter), has invited the public to vote on whether to reinstate Infowars host Alex Jones’ account. Musk stated that keeping the ban on Jones would contradict his belief in free speech.
Musk asked X users on Saturday afternoon whether they wanted him to “reinstate Alex Jones on this platform?” At the time of writing, there were 70% in favour of Jones’ reinstatement and 30% opposing.
“Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk said in the post. Musk used this Latin phrase, which means “the voice of the people is the voice of God,” last year when he reactivated former US President Donald Trump’s account following a similar vote.
Jones and his InfoWars channel were banned from every major social media platform in 2018, with the Silicon Valley firms citing “hate speech” and alleged breaches of their terms of service. Jones was also banned from using PayPal for business transactions over his alleged “intolerance against certain communities and religions.”
After purchasing Twitter last year and rebranding the platform as X, Musk rolled back many of the company’s speech rules and censorship policies, and offered a “general amnesty” to previously banned users. However, he wrote last year that after the death of his infant son, he would never allow Jones back, describing the Infowars shock-jock as someone “who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.”
Jones previously stated that the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 was staged by the US government to garner support for gun control legislation. Jones was sentenced to pay more than $1.5 billion in damages by a judge last year after a group of victims’ relatives sued him for his statements. Jones, who declared bankruptcy shortly after the verdict, has stated that he will challenge the decision.
Musk appears to have changed his mind on Jones after former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who now broadcasts a self-produced show on X, interviewed the infamous pundit earlier this week. Carlson sat down for an hour-long interview with Jones, whom he introduced as “the most censored man in the English language,” after introducing him as “the most censored man in the English language.”
The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish NGO, has previously criticised Musk for allegedly tolerating “rampant hate speech.” Musk promised to sue the ADL if it continued to drive away advertisers with “false accusations.”
Later that day, Musk responded to an X user, saying, “I vehemently disagree with what he said about Sandy Hook, but are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or not?”
“In the end, that’s all it comes down to.” If the people vote him back in, it will be financially detrimental to X, but morals trump money,” he concluded.