Billionaire Elon Musk, who is set to buy Twitter, has said he would reverse the platform’s “insane” ban on former US President Donald Trump if his acquisition goes through.
The tech mogul said: “Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really only for accounts that are bots or spam, fraudulent accounts. I really think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump.
“I think that was a mistake because it alienated a lot of the country and ultimately didn’t stop Donald Trump from being heard.”
“I would overturn the permanent ban”, Mr Musk added. “I don’t own Twitter yet. So it’s not like anything’s going to happen, because what if I don’t own Twitter?”
Mr. Musk, who last week secured $7 billion from new investors for its $44 billion buyoutcontinued: “I think the permanent bans fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a public place where everyone can express their opinion. I think it was a morally wrong decision. [to ban him] and stupid in the extreme.”
He claimed his disapproval of permanent bans was shared by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.
Speaking to the Financial Times at a summit, Mr Musk said Mr Trump is” now on Truth Social [another social media platform] as much of the right will do in the United States and so I think it can frankly end up being worse than having a one-size-fits-all form where everyone can debate.”
Responding to Mr. Musk’s remarks, Mr. Dorsey wrote on Twitter: “I agree. There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behavior, spam or network manipulation, etc.), but generally permanent bans are a failure on our part and do not work.”
Joe Biden’s White House administration said it was a decision for a private sector company to decide who will or will not be allowed on its platform.
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Mr Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter in January 2021 following his supporters’ attack on the United States Capitol which caused several deaths.
The tech company said it made the decision after the Jan. 6 riots “due to the risk of further incitement to violence.”
Mr Trump had more than 80 million followers on the platform at the time.
But once Mr. Musk announced he wanted to take over the business in part to turn it into a free speech platform, questions arose about whether he would invite Mr. Trump back.
On Tuesday, the 50-year-old entrepreneur said that if someone tweeted “something illegal…then maybe there should be a timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be rendered invisible or have very limited traction”.
Mr Trump said last month that he would not return to the company if given the chance.
“No, I’m not going back to Twitter,” the former president told CNBC’s Joe Kernen.
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“I’ll be on Truth Social within the week. It’s on schedule. We have a lot of people signed up. I love Elon Musk. I love him a lot. He’s a great person. We’ve done a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed with the way I was treated by Twitter. I will not be returning to Twitter,” Trump said.
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