Nine months after Elon Musk restored Donald Trump’s account on the social network formerly known as Twitter, the former president is back on what was his preferred platform to communicate with the country.
The return of Trump, who used to be one of the site’s most prominent, if controversial, users, could mark a turning point for the company now called X after months of turmoil. Trump, who has nearly 87 million followers, could appeal to a wide audience, especially ahead of the 2024 presidential election, in which he is the favorite for the Republican nomination. But he could also present a new set of challenges for the social network, including for his effort to revive his ad business, if Trump decides to return to regular posting on the platform.
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This Thursday night, Trump posted on the platform for the first time since January 2021, when he was suspended for violating Twitter’s rules against glorifying violence after the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol. . On Thursday, he posted a photo of his inmate photo, the first such photo of an American president in history, following his surrender in Georgia on more than a dozen charges stemming from his efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 in that country. He also added a link to a fundraiser.
Trump’s return appeared to be welcomed by Musk, the owner of X, who has been encouraging politicians and public figures to post on the site in an attempt to boost user numbers. He shared Trump’s post on X saying, “Next level.” Later, appearing to refer to the former president without explicitly naming him, Musk posted that “the speed at which his message on this platform can reach a large number of people is mind-blowing.”
X declined to comment for this story.
If Trump decides to go back to posting regularly on X, it could be a big boost to the platform’s effort to attract audiences, as he faces increasing competition. In the wake of Musk’s controversial policy decisions, a multitude of Twitter impersonators have sprung up as users seek alternative platforms, such as Meta’s Threads, which released a key update this week. The week of July 17, then-Twitter’s traffic was down more than 9% compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the most recent public report from web traffic intelligence company Similarweb.
Musk’s changes at the company have also riled some advertisers, hurting X’s core business.
When he was president, Trump’s posts on what was then Twitter often moved markets, set the news cycle and drove the agenda in Washington, a fact that benefited the company in the form of countless hours of user engagement and that he could almost certainly do it again. And while Trump has mostly stayed on his own platform, Truth Social, since he was suspended from many major social networks in early 2021, X would give him more reach as he competes for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Trump’s return “should have a positive impact on [X’s] participation at a time when he needs it,” said D.A. Davidson, Tom Forte, told CNN in an email on Friday.
(It’s unclear how Musk, who has often been X’s lead since his acquisition, thanks in some cases to his own policy decisions, would feel about sharing the spotlight.)
That commitment could be a selling point for X as it tries to lure advertisers back to the platform. But Trump’s return could also raise new concerns for advertisers, some of whom have reduced spending on the platform fearing their ads could appear alongside controversial or potentially objectionable content, as Musk has scaled back content moderation. in the place.
Musk said last month that the company was still cash flow negative due to a 50% decline in revenue from its core advertising business, though CEO Linda Yaccarino said weeks later that the company is now “close to the point of balance”.
And while X management has claimed advertisers are coming back thanks to new brand safety checks, at least two brands recently halted their spending on the platform after their ads ran alongside an account celebrating the match. Nazi. (X suspended the account after it was flagged and said that ad impressions on the