Science & Tech

The most controversial figures banned from Twitter Elon Musk could bring back

The most controversial figures banned from Twitter Elon Musk could bring back
Piers Morgan applauds Elon Musk's Twitter takeover

There’s been an awful lot of talk about free speech and the possible reintroduction of banned accounts since Elon Musk bought Twitter recently – but who could he actually be planning to reinstate on the platform?

The Tesla CEO has bought the site for $44 billion (£31 billion) and suggested he wants to make the platform more committed to free speech, with a pretty ambiguous statement.

Writing in a tweet recently, he said: "By 'free speech', I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.

“If people want less free speech, they will ask the government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”

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While we’re not exactly sure which laws he’s referring to, or what his intentions for the site are in the future, comments like this have led many to suggest that some major names could be returning to Twitter having been banned over recent years.

These are some of the most high profile names which Musk could possibly choose to bring back to the platform.

Marjorie Tayor Greene

Could the congresswoman be back on the site?Win McNamee/Getty Images

One of the most recent controversial figure to be removed from the platform is Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Tayor Greene, who had her personal account banned back in January.

A Twitter spokesperson said at the time that the ban was a result of her sharing misinformation about coronavirus.

They told The Independent: “We permanently suspended the account you referenced (@mtgreenee) for repeated violations of our Covid-19 misinformation policy. We’ve been clear that, per our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for repeated violations of the policy.”

She could hardly say it wasn’t coming, either, after she had her account frozen suspended twice in July and August for posts about the pandemic.

Azealia Banks

The rapper was banned in 2016Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

We don’t know if Musk is a fan of Azelia Banks’ 212 (given their history we're going to say no), but he could theoretically reverse the rapper’s ban which she was handed back in 2016, making her one of the first big names in the world of showbiz to be kicked off the site.

She has her account suspended after launching a tirade against former One Direction star Zayn Malik which featured racial slurs, after she believed Malik had taken inspiration from her in one of his music videos.

She later took to Instagram and accused the social media site of not acting until she said “whiteness is a mental illness”.

“REALISE that I insulted Indians, Pakistani, black folk… And my Twitter didn’t get suspended until I said “WHITENESS IS A MENTAL ILLNESS’ you guys need to pay the f*ck attention to what is happening here,” she wrote at the time.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Yiannopoulos was editor of Breitbart Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Milo Yiannopoulos came to peoples’ attention for his racist and far right views as editor of Breitbart, before being removed from the platform in 2016.

Yiannopoulos was permanently banned after posting a series of derogatory and racist comments about Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones.

He’s been well and truly out of the spotlight since, until last year when the far-right commentator gave a bizarre interview in which he claimed to be “ex-gay” and has chosen to “demote” his husband to a “housemate”.

Yiannopoulos allegedly told LifeSite — a right-wing Christian news outlet — of the changes to his sexuality and marital status in an interview published in 2021.

Donald Trump

The former president has finally posted on Trump Social Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The big one… You probably heard that former President Trump was kicked off Twitter after the January 2021 riots at the US Capitol, in the most high-profile case of a banned account in the site’s history.

Now, Musk’s promises that he’d be “upsetting the far right and the far left equally” and commit to his idea of freedom of speech on Twitter led many people to speculate about whether Trump could return.

But even if Musk wants him back, Trump has said he won’t be returning to Twitter, and he’s turning his attention full to his own site Trump Social – which he has now posted on after months of teething problems.

Donald Trump told CNBC: “I won’t be going back on Twitter.”

“I will be on Truth Social within the week. It’s on schedule. We have a lot of people signed up. I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual. We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter,” he added.

Still, anything could happen.

Roger Stone

Stone hasn't been on the site for five yearsGetty Images

One of the most high-profile supporters of Donald Trump, Stone was kicked off Twitter in 2017 after using abusive language against journalists online.

Stone, who advised Trump during his election campaign, used homophobic language against CNN presenter Don Lemon, who is gay.

Since then, he’s been using conservative social media sites such as Rumble to post content, including a reunion video with Trump earlier this year.

Steve Bannon

Bannon was banned in 2020Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Former Trump adviser and White House chief strategist Bannon was banned after calling for the beheading of Dr Anthony Fauci and the FBI director, Christopher Wray in 2020 on his podcast the War Room, saying he wanted to post their heads outside the White House as a “warning”.

Nothing controversial about the ban, then, but Musk might not want to bring him back onto Twitter after Bannon aimed a personal slight at him back in 2018.

Musk replied to the comments on Twitter in good spirits, though, saying: "Can Steve Bannon please insult me some more? Best PR I've had in a while."

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