Elon Musk says he would lift the Twitter ban on Donald Trump after deal closes

During his interview with Financial Times, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that he would allow former U.S. President Donald Trump to return to Twitter if his pending $44 billion deal for the social media platform goes through. Some of Musk’s comments are being construed as he would allow Trump, who was banned from Twitter on January 8, 2021, to return to the platform with no limits. Instead, Musk’s statements regarding the reversal of Trump’s Twitter ban were more general.

Elon Musk said Tuesday he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former President Donald Trump if his acquisition goes through.

“Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts… I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump,” Musk said at FT Live’s Future of the Car conference. “I think that was a mistake, because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”

“The answer is I would reverse the permanent ban,” Musk said, adding that his deal to buy Twitter is not guaranteed to be completed.

“I think it was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme,” Musk also said. Campbell pointed out that Trump was banned for inciting violence. “Even after he egged on the crowd who went to the US Capitol, some of them carrying nooses, you still think it was a mistake to remove him?” Campbell asked.

Musk responded, “if there are tweets that are wrong, those should be either deleted or made invisible, and a temporary suspension is appropriate, but not a permanent ban.”

Elon Musk

He mentioned his talks with Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey and noted they agree Twitter should not support permanent bans on accounts unless they involve bots or spams and scams.

“Permanent bans fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion,” said Musk of Trump’s ban during the interview. “I think it was a morally bad decision.”

Trump was kicked off Twitter for good following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in its decision to bar him from the social media platform.

Musk is in the process of buying Twitter for $44 billion, although the acquisition has not yet gone through. The billionaire has said he wants to make the website a platform for free speech, which has raised questions about whether he would allow extremists — and Trump — to voice hate unfettered.

Trump told Fox News last month that even if Musk took over Twitter, the former president would not return to the site. He said he instead plans to stick with the sinking social media company he founded, Truth Social, which he has so far only used twice. 

Musk reached a deal at the end of April to buy Twitter for $44 billion, saying after the deal was announced that he plans to ensure that the platform is dedicated to free speech. 

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said in a statement. 

The deal with Twitter could close this year.  

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