MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell rejoined Twitter on Sunday – more than one year after he was banned from the site for promoting election misinformation – only to be re-suspended again just four hours later.
Lindell was banned from Twitter in late January 2021 for promoting unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election results were fraudulent.
The social media company said at the time those tweets violated its civic integrity policy it implemented in September 2020 to fight disinformation online.
‘My only account is @MikeJLindell!’ he wrote in the tweet at 1:25pm. ‘Please RT and FOLLOW to SPREAD THE WORD.’
The tweet also included a video of him apparently on a private jet, saying: ‘Hello everyone on Twitter, this is Mike Lindell. I’m here to tell you about my new account.’
He then cautioned his fans about fake accounts impersonating him.
‘So we started this account,’ Lindell said, according to Newsweek. ‘Please share it with everyone you know. Let everybody you know – so we can get the word out over here at Twitter in case they do take it down.
‘And thanks a lot for helping out.’
Within about five minutes, Lindell’s new account was followed by over 20,000 users, Newsweek reports, and he racked up more than 37,000 followers before his account was removed shortly after 5pm.
A spokesperson for Twitter told Newsweek the account was permanently suspended for violating the platform’s rules on ban evasion.
MyPillow CEO rejoined Twitter briefly on Sunday after he was kicked off the site last year for violating its civic integrity policy it implemented in September 2020 to fight disinformation online with tweets alleging the 2020 election results were fraudulent
He tweeted on Sunday that he is ‘back on Twitter’ before his account was taken down just four hours later
Lindell’s shortly lived time back on Twitter came as conservatives continue to celebrate Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to take over the company.
Musk, who is now the owner of the platform, has described himself as a ‘free-speech absolutist’ and has said that he aims to make Twitter a more open ‘digital town square.’
‘Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,’ Musk wrote in a statement upon the purchase approval.
He claimed in his bid to take over the company that it was too restrictive in clamping down on expression after a number of high-profile conservatives had been suspended or blocked from the platform.
A recent study by researchers at MIT and Yale found that Republican users tend to be suspended more often than Democrats – but conservatives are more likely to share misinformation that would get them banned.
Most recently, the account of Babylon Bee – a satirical news website – was suspended for a tweet naming Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine – who is transgender – ‘Man of the Year.’ The account was suspended for violating Twitter’s ban on hate speech it said at the time.
But now Musk is likely to slash Twitter’s policies on hate speech and misinformation as he seeks to encourage more free speech on the site – a promise that has been lauded by Republican lawmakers.
‘It finally feels like someone is standing up for a principle that has been going in an opposite direction lately: less free speech, less ability to express yourself – if you are a conservative,’ Rep. Bill Huizenga, of Michigan, told the Los Angeles Times following the news of Musk’s acquisition of the site.
Others expressed their happiness with the news directly on the site, with Rep. Jody Hice, of Georgia, tweeting: ‘WELCOME BACK FIRST AMENDMENT’ and Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, putting out a survey asking if Musk’s purchase of the site was a good thing.
The only options on the survey were ‘yes’ or ‘no, I hate free speech.’
Lindell’s short-lived return to the site comes as conservatives are continuing to celebrate Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to take over the company
Meanwhile, prominent conservatives on the social media site have seen their Twitter followers balloon since Musk’s purchase of the company was first announced.
The company has long been accused of ‘shadow-banning’ certain accounts by allegedly setting its algorithm to promote or demote a user’s tweet. Musk has now said he is looking to make the algorithm publicly available to address these concerns.
But conservatives have already seen their follower counts surge, prompting some, like former first son Donald Trump Jr. to claim it is proof of the shadow bans.
The former first son received 87,296 new followers on Tuesday, and another 119,002 on Wednesday morning – after weeks of averaging just about 7,000 new followers a day, according to the New York Post.
‘While I’m awesome, and totally deserving of 87,000 new followers a day, it seems that someone took the shackles off my account,’ he tweeted on April 26.
‘Wonder if they’re burning the evidence before new [management] comes in?’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also received more than 205,000 new followers in one day over the past week, the Post reports, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gained more than 112,000 new followers.
Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, meanwhile, also saw her followers gain by more than 130,000, while podcaster Joe Rogan’s follower count exploded by nearly 135,000
And conservative radio host Dana Loesch gained more than 22,000 followers in just two days – up from a daily average of 574.
She tweeted that she was ‘noticing an increase in followers and engagement after losing huge chunks … for the past few years.
‘It’s too soon for Musk to have done this, but I’m wondering if something was changed by those seeking to minimize their fingerprint ahead of potential transparency.’
Several conservatives, like Donald Trump Jr., have noticed that they have gained more followers since the announcement that Musk would take over control of Twitter
At the same time, though, woke Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shed more than 38,000 followers after gaining an average of 966 new followers a day, and Vice President Kamala Harris lost more than 28,000 followers after gaining a daily average of 2,300.
Former Democratic presidential candidates also faced declining follower counts, according to the Post, with 21,000 of Hillary Clinton’s followers vanishing after she received a daily average increase of 1,900 new followers a day.
And Sen. Bernie Sander’s follower count declined by more than 23,000, while Warren lost 17,800. In the ten days prior, the Post reports, they had averaged 1,800 and 650 new followers a day, respectively.
Twitter executives now say they are looking into the fluctuations of followers, but said it appeared to have largely been due to an increase in conservative people creating accounts, while more liberal users are deleting theirs.
They also said they are continuing to ‘take action on accounts that violate our spam policy, which can affect lower follower count’ – but stopped short of addressing concerns about alleged shadow bans.