The founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, recently bought 9.2 percent of Twitter shares, becoming the social media giant's largest shareholder.
A self-described free speech absolutist, Musk seems likely to implement some radical changes to Twitter policy, which would have tremendous political implications.
For a start, Musk probably has the power to restore former President Donald Trump's account. But will he do so?Trump's Twitter Account
Trump was permanently banned from Twitter — and all major social media sites — after the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
The former president was accused of inciting violence, which is against Twitter's terms of service.
But critics, especially those right of center, viewed the ban as arbitrary and slammed the company for what they claim is its anti-conservative bias.
In response to being banned from mainstream social networks, Trump launched his own site, Truth Social, which is not exactly a success, per the BBC.What Musk Being At Helm Means
According to CNN's political analyst Julian Zelizer, Musk is already under pressure from conservatives to reinstate Trump's Twitter account.
Reinstating it would change the political landscape in America and have a significant impact on upcoming elections, according to Zelizer.
"Twitter was integral to Trump's political success, and if his accounts are restored, he would have immense leverage to secure the Republican presidential nomination and enhance his position in a general election," the analyst wrote.
Trump has not formally announced his candidacy, but he has made it clear that he intends to run for president once again, and maintains that the 2020 election was rigged against him.How Trump Used Twitter
When he was in office, Trump used Twitter not just to communicate with the public, but also to reach out to foreign leaders and shape the news cycle, Zelizer noted.
"Whether or not he was self-conscious about his strategy, Trump had an innate feel for the way modern media is drawn to controversy, provocative statements and sensational stories," the analyst wrote, suggesting that the media routinely fell into Trump's traps, letting him dominate the narrative and drive the 24-hour news cycle.
Trump's influence "has significantly diminished" since he was banned, according to Zelizer.Game-Changer
According to Zelizer, Trump most likely would not have even won in 2016 if not for Twitter, which suggests that his account being reinstated could allow him to win in 2024.
"If Trump is going to make a political comeback in 2024, Twitter could prove to be a game-changer for him," the analyst wrote, adding that Musk could have the power to shape the future of the country.
"If Musk's presence on the board does somehow lead to a change in policy, the Republican primaries — and the future of the country — will likely look very different," he concluded.]]>