Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is set to have his account on X – formerly Twitter – reinstated after a poll by the platform’s owner, Elon Musk.
Jones was banned from the social media website – under its previous ownership – in 2018 for breaching its rules on abusive behaviour.
However, on Saturday night, Musk launched a poll asking if Jones should have his account reinstated.
Close to two million votes were cast by the time the poll closed, with about 70% voting in favour of Jones’ return.
“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” Musk posted.
Who is Alex Jones?
Jones is the owner of the conspiracy theory site, InfoWars, and the host of his eponymous radio programme, The Alex Jones Show.
The 49-year-old is notorious for falsely claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 20 children and six adults died, was “staged” as part of a government plot to tighten gun laws.
Jones was ordered last year to pay nearly $1.5bn (£1.2bn) in damages to relatives of the victims. During the defamation trial, he admitted the shooting was “100% real”.
“Especially since I’ve met the parents. It’s 100% real,” he told a court.
Jones, who is banned from other platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, has also promoted conspiracy theories relating to the 1995 Oklahoma City and 9/11 terror attacks.
Why is he being reinstated now?
Since completing his $44bn (£38bn) takeover of the social media site in October last year, Musk has been bringing back controversial figures to the platform as part of his stated mission to promote free speech.
Last month, former leader of the far-right English Defence League (EDL), Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, and controversial media personality, Katie Hopkins, had their accounts reinstated after bans enforced by Twitter’s previous owners.
Like with Jones, Musk ran a poll asking whether he should reinstate former US president Donald Trump to the platform, after he was banned in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.
He has posted just once since the reinstatement of his account in November last year.
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However, while Musk has been bullish about his free speech stance, he has, until now, resisted calls from fans of Jones to bring back the controversial radio host.
Responding to one call in November last year, Musk, who in 2002 lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome at 10 weeks, said: “My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat.
“I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.”
While Musk has promised to honour the results of the poll, as of 10am UK time, Jones’ account does not yet appear to be reinstated.