Elon Musk has restored the X account of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, pointing to a poll on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter that came out in favour of the Infowars host who repeatedly called the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax.
The move comes after advertisers in recent weeks have left X over concerns about hate speech appearing alongside their ads.
Jones is also the latest divisive public personality to get back their banned account.
Jones repeatedly has said on his show that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 20 children and six educators never happened and was staged in an effort to tighten gun laws.
Relatives of many of the victims sued Jones in Connecticut and Texas, winning nearly $1.5 billion in judgments against him. In October, a judge ruled that Jones could not use bankruptcy protection to avoid paying more than $1.1 billon of that debt.
Musk posted a poll on Saturday asking if Jones should be reinstated, with the results showing 70% of those who responded in favour. Early Sunday, Musk tweeted, “The people have spoken and so it shall be.”
A few hours later, Jones’ posts were visible again, the last one from 2018, when the company permanently banned him and his Infowars show for abusive behaviour.
Musk, who has described himself as a free speech absolutist, said the move was about protecting those rights. In response to a user who posted that “permanent account bans are antithetical to free speech,” Musk wrote, “I find it hard to disagree with this point.”
The billionaire Tesla CEO also tweeted it’s likely that Community Notes — X’s crowd-sourced fact-checking service “will respond rapidly to any Alex Jones post that needs correction.”
Musk had previously said he wouldn’t bring back Jones to the platform.
Last year, Musk pointed to the death of his first-born child and tweeted, “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.”