(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk restored the account of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on X after users voted for the reinstatement five years after a ban.
Jones and Musk joined an X audio stream late Sunday for a meandering conversation listened to by more than 4.5 million users. The call also featured Andrew Tate, an online influencer who has been banned from most social platforms for his sexist remarks.
“We will try do our best to avoid any kind of permanent bans unless someone does something fundamentally illegal,” Musk, the owner of X, said on the call. “We’re just trying to stay true to the constitution in the US and the laws of the country.”
The billionaire, who renamed Twitter to X after acquiring it a year ago, had asked his followers whether to unban Jones late on Friday, and 70% of the votes were in favor. In the past, Musk has said that major decisions on the platform would be made by the people, though he later limited that to only paying subscribers having a vote.
Jones was permanently suspended from Twitter in 2018, along with the account of his Infowars website, for breaching the platform’s abusive behavior policy and other past violations. Permanent suspension, its most severe action, removes the account from global view and prevents the person from creating new accounts.
The talk show host filed for bankruptcy protection last year after he was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in judgments related to his comments that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. This month, he was given clearance by a court to sell his firearms, cars, jewelry and boats on the Infowars show in order to obtain the highest value for them in covering the cost of his bankruptcy.
A year ago, Musk had dismissed the possibility of letting Jones back on the platform, saying he’d “have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.”
--With assistance from Debby Wu.
(Updates with details of X stream from second paragraph)
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