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The Post-Twitter Promised Land

Twitter polling appears to be Musk’s new love language: a bow to his primal narcissism, the veil of populism, and an element of C.Y.A. executing on the fly. Photo: Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images
Baratunde Thurston
November 27, 2022

The richest man in the world has continued putting his fingerprints on Twitter by welcoming back previously barred users, revamping the predictably-failed verification subscription program, and vaguely hinting at a Twitter phone. Yes, like a physical smartphone. Right. Let’s start with the banned accounts. 

In May, Elon Musk promised to reinstate Trump, so we all expected it. But on October 28, Musk appeared to reconsider and tweeted, “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.” This came amid fears that advertisers would be inclined to sit out a toxic, Trump- and insurrection-friendly environment. For a brief moment, handfuls of people thought Musk might actually take a considered approach to the Trump reinstatement decision. Of course, he would not. As is well known, on November 18, he tweeted a poll offering “Yes” and “No” choices on reinstating Trump. The “Yes” votes narrowly won, so that was that. Vox populi, vox dei?