Elon Musk brings conspiracy theorist Alex Jones back to X following poll

Musk says ‘the people have spoken’ after unscientific poll on X backs Jones’s return.

alex jones
Alex Jones has returned to social media platform X [File: Jacquelyn Martin/AP]

Elon Musk has brought right-wing American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones back to X after holding a poll on his return to the platform.

Jones, who was ordered to pay nearly $1.5bn in damages for defaming the families of the Sandy Hook school killings in the United States, was reinstated on Sunday after about 70 percent of respondents to an unscientific poll on X backed his return.

Shortly after his reinstatement, Jones posted a video teaser touting an X Spaces discussion he had with Musk and kickboxer-turned-influencer Andrew Tate.

“It’s way bigger than Alex Jones,” the Infowars host said in the video.

“This is about Renaissance 2.0, this is about free speech winning, it’s about the deep state failing. This is beyond cool. Elon Musk talks about everything, including subjects he has never been asked about before, in this interview.”

Musk, who has cast himself as a free speech absolutist, on Saturday posted a poll asking users if Jones’s account should be restored more than five years after it was permanently banned for violating Twitter’s abusive behaviour policy.

“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” the billionaire owner of X said after a majority of the nearly 2 million respondents voted “yes”.

The decision comes as X is under fire for allegedly facilitating a surge in disinformation and extremist content since coming under Musk’s ownership last year.

Major brands including Apple, Disney, IBM and Lions Gate Entertainment have left the platform in recent months amid claims the platform has encouraged anti-Semitism and other hate.

X has denied stoking bigotry and last month filed a lawsuit against liberal activist group Media Matters over a report showing that ads for major brands have run beside content supporting Adolf Hitler and Nazis.

Musk, who runs several companies including Tesla and SpaceX, had previously vowed not to let Jones back on the platform, saying he had “no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame”.

“I vehemently disagree with what he said about Sandy Hook, but are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?” he said in response to a user on X on Saturday.

Jones repeatedly claimed that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 people dead was a hoax perpetrated to weaken the rights of US gun owners.

Relatives of many of the victims, which included 20 children, sued Jones in Connecticut and Texas, winning nearly $1.5bn in damages.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies