Banned right-wing Twitter users aren’t receiving the warm welcome they expected following Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition, at least not yet anyways.
Mike Lindell, the deplatformed MyPillow CEO known for parroting a laundry list of Covid-19 and election conspiracies theories attempted to make his triumphant return to Twitter over the weekend. He was banned less than three hours later.
Lindell, more commonly known as the ‘MyPillow Guy’ or maybe more appropriately, the ‘MyPillow Goblin,’ got booted off of Twitter following the January 6 attacks on the capitol for repeated violations of Twitter’s civic integrity policy. Though it’s unclear what exact Tweets pushed him over the edge, Lindell had repeatedly denied the 2020 election results and had gone as far as to ask former President Donald Trump to enforce “martial law,” to keep Joe Biden from assuming office.
Like other disgraced Twitter vultures, Lindell presumably saw an opportunity to slither his way back on the platform now that it’s being acquired by free speech hobbyist Elon Musk. Though his former account remains banned, Lindell created a new one on Sunday and reportedly posted this to announce his return, along with a brief video.
“Hello everybody, I’M BACK ON TWITTER. My only account is @MikeJLindell! Please RT and FOLLOW to SPREAD THE WORD,” Lindell said in the Tweet spotted by Insider. A Twitter spokesperson told Gizmodo Lindell’s new account was suspended for violating the company’s ban evasion policy.
Lindell did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment but told Insider he thought his re-banning was “a shame” and claimed he’d returned to the platform in response to a growing number of fake accounts masquerading as him.
“All those other ones are fake accounts and they’ve been using my name out there, so we started this account,” Lindell reportedly said in his video. “Please share with everybody you know, let everybody you know, so we can get the word out on Twitter in case they do take it down. Thanks a lot for helping out.”
Lindell will now retreat back to his own strange social media platform called “Frank Social,” a bizarre Twitter inspired right-wing echo chamber which bills itself as “the voice of free speech.”
If Musk’s takeover of Twitter is really leading to emboldening of a no-holds barred alt-right troll army like some have feared, it certainly hasn’t happened yet. But that hasn’t stopped some controversial users from testing the waters.
Last week, longtime Trump aide and self-described GOP “dirty trickster” Roger Stone tried a similar tactic after having his account permanently suspended back in 2017. Stone created a new account following the Musk takeover news and posted about it on his Telegram account.
“Well bitches I’m back on Twitter,” Stone said according to The Daily Beast. “I’m anxious to see how strong Elon Musk’s commitment to free speech is.” Stone’s new account was reportedly suspended almost immediately after.
Still, conservatives and right-wingers of various stripes seem convinced of their Musk Messiah. Just two days after Musk finalized his deal to acquire Twitter, influential conservative accounts saw their followers increase at around ten times the rate they had prior to the deal, according to Social Blade data shared with The Verge.
Prominent liberal accounts, on the other hand, saw a decrease in new users during the same period. Former president Barack Obama, one of the site’s most followed accounts, lost more than 300,000 followers since news of Musk’s Twitter deal. All those defectors have helped boost the user count of decentralized social network Mastodon, which reportedly saw an uptick of more than 30,000 new users in a single day.