Elon Musk Accused of Forcing Users to Follow Donald Trump on Twitter

Several Twitter users are crying foul after their accounts seemed to follow former President Donald Trump without their knowledge and against their will.

Trump's personal Twitter account was officially reinstated on Saturday after new company leader Elon Musk ran a poll about the possibility. Trump was previously suspended from the platform permanently under the prior Twitter leadership in the wake of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, out of concern that he would use his account to stoke further violence.

Now, a few days after the former president's account was reinstated, a handful of users have noticed that they are now following it, despite not doing so themselves and not wanting to do so. One prominent example was Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, former friend and senior adviser to ex-first lady Melania Trump and author of the tell-all memoir Melania & Me, who accused Musk of forcing her to follow Trump's account.

"I do NOT and would NOT follow Donald J. Trump but 'someone' ⁦[tagging Elon Musk]⁩ automatically added him to my following," Wolkoff tweeted Sunday morning. "See if you're now following him too."

Christopher Bouzy, founder and CEO of the social media analysis company Bot Sentinel, also shared a screenshot indicating that his account had followed Trump without his consent.

"How did I start following Trump?" Bouzy tweeted. "I never followed Trump, and I just found out I was following him."

In reply to Bouzy, Democratic Party strategist Adam Parkhomenko indicated that the same thing had happened to his account. A search for relevant terms on Twitter shows several users mentioning the same issue. Some have also claimed to be experiencing the opposite, with their accounts unfollowing Trump after they chose to start following him. While Twitter has not issued any statement, the prevalence of dueling complaints related to Trump's reinstated account could indicate that there are general technical hiccups surrounding it.

donald trump twitter following
Then-President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office in 2018. Several Twitter users are alleging that their accounts followed Trump without their input. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Despite it being reinstated on Saturday, Trump has, as of Tuesday evening, not posted anything from his Twitter account. He has instead continued to post on Truth Social, the conservative-targeted social network that he launched after being booted from Twitter.

Trump's Twitter account has more than 87 million followers, while his Truth Social account has only around 4.5 million. In a video speech given for a Jewish Republican group over the weekend, Trump said that he does not "see any reason" to return to Twitter and claimed Truth Social was performing well. Despite this, he also offered praise for Musk, claiming that he always liked him, according to Business Insider.

Newsweek has reached out to Twitter for comment.