October is the month of ghouls and shocks, traditionally. We will see one monster return to Twitter, most likely, by All Hallows Eve. Elon Musk is eager to avoid a court trial and Twitter is holding him to his $44 billion buy out price. Ergo, Musk will own Twitter on October 28, barring any new and unforeseen developments in this case.
One former Twitter user who is jumping up and down with glee is Donald Trump. The timing could not be better. Truth Social is ready to go under and Trump doesn’t want to be a man without a platform. That’s not a good look when you’re the head of one of the two major political parties and planning a presidential run.
He’s grinning at the thought.
Trump says Twitter is no good without him: “It was one of the worst decisions made in all of business – taking me off – because they’ve become very boring. There’s no excitement, there’s nothing to talk about.” pic.twitter.com/5KUmapK5Be
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) October 7, 2022
And of course if Trump comes back on, then who else would? NPR:
In May, Musk said that the ban [of Trump] “was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme” and pledged to reverse the ban.
But it’s not just Trump — Musk has been vocally skeptical of the notion that anyone should be permanently banned from Twitter, with few exceptions.
“Would be great to unwind permanent bans, except for spam accounts and those that explicitly advocate violence,” he texted Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal shortly after agreeing to join the company’s board (a decision he soon backtracked).
That could mean lifting bans on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was kicked off for abusive behavior in 2018; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., whose account was suspended in January for tweeting misleading and false claims about COVID-19 vaccines; and 2020 election deniers like Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell, who were all banned in early 2021.
One person who texted Musk in the days after his Twitter stake became public (whose name was redacted in court documents) advised the billionaire that “it will be a delicate game of letting right wingers back on Twitter and how to navigate that (especially the boss himself, if you’re up for that)” — an apparent reference to Trump.
The person urged Musk to hire “someone who has a savvy cultural/political view” to lead enforcement, suggesting “a Blake Masters type.” Masters is the Republican Senate candidate in Arizona who has been endorsed by Trump and has echoed his false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Allowing Trump and others to return could set a precedent for other social networks, including Meta-owned Facebook, which is considering whether to reinstate the former president when its own ban on him expires in January 2023.
“If Trump is replatformed on Twitter, it makes it easier for [Meta president of global affairs] Nick Clegg and [Meta CEO] Mark Zuckerberg to say, ‘Well, he’s already back on Twitter. We might as well let him back on Facebook,'” said Nicole Gill, executive director of Accountable Tech, a progressive advocacy group.
Current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal is expected to leave. Maybe Musk would in fact hire Blake Masters to run the show. Why have a “type” when you can have the real thing? One idea that Musk has is to charge subscription fees to users. That ought to go over real well.
What’s done is done. We’ll start to see the fallout the end of this month. This could be one very chilling October, in several senses of the word.