Donald Trump strongly criticised Twitter when he was allegedly banned for life.
After the riots on Capitol Hill, Twitter said the permanent suspension was “due to the risk of further incitement to violence.”
Donald Trump even sued Twitter for what he called “censorship.”
However, this “permanent” suspension now seems much less certain.
Elon Musk tweeted that he would set up a “council” that would decide whether Donald Trump would be reinstated.
But if Mr. Trump is invited back onto the platform, one would think it would be easy for him to return.
After all, Donald Trump, like Elon Musk, loves Twitter. For Mr. Trump, it was a way to connect directly with voters and bypass traditional media.
Ironically, it was also a way to get the attention of the media he claimed to be avoiding. “He tweeted” was a regular refrain in newsrooms around the world.
But times have changed. There are now several reasons why Mr. Trump may not return to Twitter.
First, he now owns and runs his own social media company, known as Truth Social.
It looks almost exactly like Twitter – allowing people to post “truths.” It’s owned by Mr. Trump – so he’s a direct financial interest in its success.
And Truth Social’s biggest asset by far is Donald Trump.
Donald Trump won’t get paid a dime for his tweets on Twitter. However, he could benefit enormously if Truth Social becomes a major social media platform.
At the moment, Truth Social isn’t yet that.
According to app analytics firm Sensor Tower, Truth Social had just 92,000 installs last month.
By comparison, Sensor Tower estimates that Twitter had more than 14 million installs during that period.
That’s anaemic, tiny growth for a social media company.
But if Truth Social is to have any chance of being relevant, Mr. Trump must be there – and only there.
That also explains why Mr. Trump hasn’t said in a statement that he’s considering a return to Twitter.
Money, however, isn’t the only consideration of Mr. Trump and his advisers.
There’s also a view that it’ll be better for Trump’s poll numbers if he leaves Twitter.
The theory is that Twitter served Mr. Trump well when he was establishing himself.
But does he really need Twitter now?
And some Republicans believe the public can have “too much Trump,” that wild statements and claims that grab people’s attention can distract from Republican arguments.
And even if Mr. Trump wanted to come back, it now seems possible that the door may not be opened to him.
In a tweet on Friday, Elon Musk said a council would decide whether people banned from entering could return.