Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones reinstated on X after Musk poll

By Mrinmay Dey and Jyoti Narayan

(Reuters) -Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday showed the account of U.S. right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to have been reinstated as a poll organized by owner Elon Musk backed his return after a ban of nearly five years.

Close to 2 million votes were cast by the time the poll closed, with about 70% voting in favor of Jones’ reinstatement.

“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” Musk wrote in the reply to the poll that ended on Sunday.

Soon after reappearing on the platform, Jones’ account began accumulating followers and currently has about 1 million. He has yet to post anything original, but has reposted two messages.

Jones’ account with username “@RealAlexJones” now shows his last original post was on Sept. 6, 2018, the same day the social media platform’s previous owners permanently banned his account and website Infowars, saying they had violated its behavior policies.

The ban came weeks after Apple, Alphabet’s YouTube and Facebook took down podcasts and channels from Jones, citing community standards.

Reuters could not verify if X reinstated the Infowars account.

X and Infowars did not respond to a request asking for confirmation on Jones’ account. Jones could not be immediately reached.

Jones last year was ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages to relatives of victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting for falsely claiming they were actors who staged the tragedy as part of a government plot to seize Americans’ guns.

Right after Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the social media platform implemented several modification, including changing its name and revisiting its policies. It also reinstated previously suspended accounts including that of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The billionaire has since sought to reassure users and advertisers that such a decision would be made with the consideration of a content moderation council composed of people with “widely diverse viewpoints” and no account reinstatements would happen before the council convened.

Separately, Musk in November cursed out advertisers that have fled X over antisemitic content.

Several companies including Comcast and Walt Disney paused their advertisements on X after Musk agreed with a post that falsely claimed that Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people.

(Reporting by Jyoti Narayan and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Editing by Miral Fahmy, David Goodman, Louise Heavens and Mark Porter)