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A fake press release announcing Trump's return to Twitter began circulating online Thursday night.
It was hailed by several right-wing commentators including Dinesh D'Souza and Leo Terrell.
The fake statement also duped Russian state media and a left-leaning MSNBC show.
A statement from former president Donald Trump hailing his imminent return to Twitter was roundly hailed by right-wing commentators and even Russian state media Thursday — until it turned out to be fake.
The fake statement appeared shortly after Elon Musk sealed his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. Musk has said previously that he intends to reinstate Trump's account.
The statement, which was still circulating on Twitter, reads: "Congratulations to Elon Musk on his purchase of Twitter. Many people are saying that change was needed, as the old management was too concerned with the woke agenda."
It continues: "I have been told that my account will be back up and running on Monday — we will see. Happy to be able to engage with an African-American owned business."
Right-wing commentator Dinesh D'Souza posted a screenshot of the fake statement in a tweet Thursday. The tweet was shared by the likes of Fox News' Leo Terrell and amassed 13,000 likes, according to The Daily Beast, before it was deleted.
TASS, the Russian state-controlled news agency, reported the claim in the fake statement that Trump's blocked Twitter account would be unlocked Monday.
Robby Starbuck, another right-wing commentator, said he'd been duped after a news site posted the fake statement. He said it was "funny" and that he hoped the statement would be memed "into reality."
On the Left, the MSNBC show Alex Wagner Tonight was also reeled in. It later issued an apology for sharing "bad information about Donald Trump's reaction to the deal."
Twitter and Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
Twitter permanently suspended Trump from its platform in January 2021 "due to the risk of further incitement of violence" in the wake of the US Capitol riots.
After Musk proposed his takeover of Twitter, pro-Trump pundits were given reason to hope the former president might return to the platform. In an interview with the FT in May, Musk described Trump's permanent suspension as a "foolish" and "morally bad decision" and promised to restore his account.
Musk is a self-described "free-speech absolutist" but appears to have made concessions in recent days. According to The Wall Street Journal, some large advertisers are concerned about damage to their brands if Musk invites Trump back to Twitter, or loosens the platform's content-moderation policies. Some have said they might even boycott the platform.
Digital advertising is at the core of Twitter's business. Ads made up $1.08 billion, or 91.5%, of Twitter's $1.18 billion revenue last quarter, its earnings report shows.
On Thursday, in a bid to calm nervous advertisers, Musk posted a statement to Twitter emphasizing that legal limits on free speech on the platform would remain. "Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!" he said.
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