- The Washington Times
Monday, November 21, 2022

Several banned Twitter users are making their return to the social media platform, following new owner Elon Musk‘s decision to restore some restricted accounts, including activists, satirists and celebrities. 

Conservative activist organization Project Veritas marked its return with a video on Twitter featuring founder James O’Keefe promising he would use the platform to publish his group’s next campaign involving alleged wrongdoing by federal officials causing the victimization of immigrant children.

“The corrupt Twitter bird upside down no longer,” Mr. O’Keefe said in the video, sporting a hat with Twitter’s bird logo inverted. “And not only are we back, we’re coming back with a vengeance.”

Some banned users found the old Twitter regime’s censorship ultimately amplified their message and grew their audience. Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, said the satirical publisher has added nearly 500,000 followers on Twitter, compared to figures before restrictions prevented it from posting.

“We now have more followers, reach, and revenue than ever before — not because we acquiesced, but because we stubbornly refused to bend the knee for tyrants,” Mr. Dillon tweeted.

The returning Twitter users faced restrictions on their access for varying reasons.

The Babylon Bee faced restrictions after joking about the gender of Biden administration official Rachel Levine, and the satirist’s portrayal of the transgender woman as a man.

Mr. O’Keefe said a Project Veritas video including a lamppost revealing the private location information of a Facebook executive prompted the restrictions that have been removed. Other restrictions remain on Mr. O’Keefe’s personal account, as of Monday morning.

Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, faced restrictions on his account after posting antisemitic remarks. His access to the platform was also restored, which he used to post the message “Shalom : ).”

“Testing Testing Seeing if my Twitter is unblocked,” he tweeted on Sunday.

“Don’t kill what ye hate,” Mr. Musk replied. “Save what ye love.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, said Monday that she regained access to her personal Twitter account. Mrs. Greene said her personal account was restricted in January over spreading alleged misinformation about COVID-19.

“My account is back,” Mrs. Greene said from her congressional account. “Go follow @mtgreenee for MTG unfiltered ;).”

Mr. Musk, however, has observed limitations on who he is allowing to return to the platform, particularly in maintaining restrictions against Infowars founder Alex Jones.

Mr. Jones and his company were ordered by a judge earlier this month to pay $473 million for defamation involving conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school shooting. Mr. Musk tweeted that he had “no mercy” for people using children’s death to benefit themselves.

Other Twitter users have refrained from publishing amid changes to Twitter. Perhaps the most prominent banned user, former President Donald Trump, has not posted on the social media platform since Mr. Musk restored his access. He has opted instead to use his own social media website Truth Social.

CBS News paused some of its Twitter activity before deciding to continue publishing. 

“After pausing for much of the weekend to assess the security concerns, CBS News and Stations is resuming its activity on Twitter as we continue to monitor the situation,” the company tweeted via a public relations account.

Mr. Musk replied with a giggling emoticon.

He later urged people who dislike Twitter’s new rules for social media to stick to other platforms.

“Hope all judgy hall monitors stay on other platforms — please, I’m begging u,” he said.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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