Elon Musk on Tuesday said he would lift Twitter’s ban on former US President Donald Trump. He said this would be done if his deal to buy the global messaging platform was successful.
“I would reverse the permanent ban,” the billionaire said at a Financial Times conference. He noted that he doesn’t own Twitter yet, so “this is not like a thing that will happen.”
Musk’s $44-billion deal to buy Twitter still needs the backing of shareholders and regulators for a sellout. The Tesla chief has thus voiced enthusiasm for less content moderation and time-outs instead of bans.
“I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump,” Musk said.
“I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country. The ban did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
Trump was banned from Twitter and other internet platforms after supporters enraged by his comments claiming election fraud invaded the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a fatal and futile attempt to prevent Joe Biden from being declared the winner of the US presidential election.
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Musk said he and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey are of similar mind in that permanent bands should be rare and reserved for accounts that are spam, scams or run by software “bots.”
“That doesn’t mean that somebody gets to say whatever they want to say,” Musk said.
“If they say something illegal or otherwise just destructive to the world; then there should be a timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited attraction.”
Musk was adamant that he feels permanent bans are a “morally bad decision”. He says it undermines trust in Twitter as an online town square where everyone can be heard.
He noted that Trump has stated publicly that he would not come back to Twitter if permitted, opting instead to stick with his own social network, which has failed to gain traction.