Elon Musk, who is in charge of a prominent online platform, is entertaining thoughts about reinstating the controversial figure, Alex Jones, who was barred in 2018. Recently, Tucker Carlson, an ex-host at Fox News, uploaded a fresh installment of his digital program, ‘Tucker on X’, this program is exclusively shared on the platform controlled by Musk.
His guest of the day was Alex Jones, a well-known extreme right-wing conspiracy theorist, who has lately lost a handful of lawsuits initiated by the parents of Sandy Hook victims. This new episode by Carlson resurrected discussions about Jones among right-wing users of the online platform ‘X’.
In response to a request from a right-leaning ‘X’ user to reintroduce Jones, Musk mentioned he would potentially consider it. He added, ‘In an ideal world, this platform, aspiring to be a global meeting place for everyone, should only enforce permanent bans in exceptional cases.
Reinstate Alex Jones on this platform?
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 9, 2023
And if Jones disseminates any false information here, @CommunityNotes will issue corrections, something that may not happen elsewhere.’ Musk promptly reacted to another conservative X user who conducted a poll among their followers, a majority of whom were in favor of Jones coming back onto the site. ‘Seems many people are rooting for his comeback’, Musk responded.
Engaging with the conversation revolving around Jones, Musk responded to yet another conservative user of X who had shared a video of Jones.
This video, which was shared by his spouse, featured Jones pleading with Musk to watch his discussion with Carlson, where he argues for his reinstatement. ‘I’m open to hearing him out’, was Musk’s rebuttal. As it seems, the return of Jones to the platform ‘X’, managed by Musk, would mark a significant shift in approach.
Musk’s prior actions, after his takeover of the platform previously known as Twitter, saw him re-allowing several banned or permanently suspended users, including former President Donald Trump, back on his platform. However, Jones was not in the group that Musk had allowed back then. Fast forward to now, Musk appears to be teetering on the edge of a complete about-face by hinting at the prospect of Jones’ return.
Despite this recent openness, it’s worth noting Musk initially objecting staunchly to the return of Jones to the digital platform. He had once emotionally noted, ‘I’ve felt the life ebb out from my firstborn held in my arms. I am pitiless towards those who exploit the tragedy of children’s death for their own profit, political motives, or notoriety’. Without doubt, Musk was pointing to Jones’ previous denial of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 20 youths lost their lives.
This raises the question, why the significant shift in Musk’s stance? The reasons behind Musk’s change of heart remain ambiguous. He certainly seems to appreciate Tucker Carlson, yet he hasn’t shared his interview with Jones. It could be suggested that the primary motivation for his initial decision might have been the worry of an advertiser boycott.
Indeed, such a fright has now materialized regardless, attributed to other measures taken. With Musk now hinting at the possibility of a Jones’ return, there might soon be more clarity on the attributes influencing his decisions. One thing’s for certain, Musk’s dominant platform ‘X’ remains under the spotlight as its users eagerly anticipate what could be a major policy overhaul.