Facebook posts have shared an apparent tweet from Donald Trump thanking Elon Musk for allowing him to rejoin Twitter. But the claim is false; the company confirmed that the former US president was banned at the time of the purported posts, and nor has Musk so far succeeded in taking control of the social media giant.
An April 14, 2022 Facebook post shares the alleged tweet, which says: “It’s good to be back, Thanks Elon!” The handle @realDonaldTrump — the former president’s personal account, which was permanently suspended following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 — appears at the top of the image, along with a blue check mark, an indicator of Twitter verification.
The supposed tweet is dated April 15, 2022, but a Facebook post sharing the image was published the day before, a tell-tale sign that the content is not authentic.
A spokesperson for Twitter told AFP that Trump’s old account was not usable on both April 14 and 15, when the social media posts claimed the tweet originated, and that the former president remains banned from the platform as of this article’s time of publication.
“The account referenced has been and remains permanently suspended,” the spokesperson said.
Musk, who is CEO at Tesla and SpaceX, shocked the tech world on April 14 when he made an unsolicited $43 billion bid to buy out Twitter, citing the promotion of freedom of speech on the platform as a key motive for what he called his “best and final offer.” The 50-year-old is considered the world’s richest person with estimated net worth of $219 billion.
Twitter cited the risk of “further incitement of violence” when imposing a permanent ban after the storming of the Capitol. By contrast, the restriction from Facebook is effective for two years from the date of the initial suspension on January 7, 2021.
The deadly January 6 attack followed a speech by the then outgoing president where he forcefully told supporters that Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was due to widespread fraud, a claim rejected by dozens of courts and state election officials.
Musk’s move on Twitter faces uncertainty on multiple fronts, including the challenge of assembling the cash. On April 15, 2022, Twitter moved to defend itself against a takeover, with its board unanimously adopting a shareholder rights plan, also known as a “poison pill.”
The maneuver — which kicks in if an investor buys more than 15 percent in shares without the directors’ agreement — makes it harder to build a large stake without board approval, triggering an option that allows other investors to buy more shares at a discount, potentially thwarting a hostile bid.
Musk currently holds only nine percent of Twitter. He does not have the ability to restore Trump’s account, as the alleged tweet claimed.
Trump, who launched his own social media app, told Americano Media in an interview aired on April 13 that he “probably wouldn’t have any interest” in returning to Twitter if Musk reinstated his account.
AFP has previously debunked a claim that Trump was reinstated on social media here.