Elon Musk says he will overturn Donald Trump’s Twitter ban

Elon Musk has said he would reverse former President Donald Trump’s permanent Twitter ban if the Tesla CEO follows through on his plan to buy the social media company.

Musk, speaking virtually at a Future of the Car summit hosted by the Financial Times, said Trump’s Twitter ban was a “morally wrong decision” and “insane in the extreme”. He said permanent Twitter account bans should be rare and reserved for accounts that are scams or automated bots.

Twitter banned Trump’s account in January 2021 for “inciting violence” following the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol.

“I think that was a mistake because it alienated a lot of the country and ultimately didn’t stop Donald Trump from being heard,” Musk said. “So I think that could end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate. I guess the answer is that I would rescind the permanent ban.”

Musk added that his distaste for permanent bans is shared by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.

Trump against joining Twitter, for now

Trump had previously said he had no intention of joining Twitter even if his account was reinstated, telling Fox News last month that he would instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which is mired in problems since its launch earlier this year.

“I’m not going to Twitter. I’m going to stay on Truth,” Trump told the network. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he will improve it and he’s a good man, but I’m going to stick with Truth.”

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment in response to Musk’s remarks.

The future of Twitter under regulators

Earlier this week, the Tesla CEO gave his backing to a new European Union law aimed at protecting social media users from harmful content after meeting the bloc’s single market chief.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he explained to Musk how the bloc’s online regulations aim to maintain free speech while ensuring that everything illegal “will be banned in the digital space”, which Musk “fully agreed with”. .”

In a video that Breton tweeted on Monday evening, Musk said the two had a “great discussion” and agreed with the Digital Services Act, which is expected to receive final approval later this year. It will force big tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook’s parent company Meta to more strictly police their platforms for illegal or harmful content like hate speech and misinformation, or face billions in fines. .

Musk’s plan to buy Twitter for $57 billion has raised fears he will make changes to the platform that would prioritize free speech over online safety – potentially putting him in jeopardy. contradiction to looming rules in Europe, leading to a global movement to crack down on the power of tech giants.

The attempted acquisition of Twitter by Musk, a billionaire and self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, had raised concerns that he was taking a hands-off approach to content moderation.

Breton told AP he explained to Musk that the new law means “we also need to have more moderators, and in the language that we operate in. So he understood perfectly.”

The pair agreed on the importance of being able to inspect the algorithms that determine what social media users are shown, Breton said.

The Digital Services Act requires more transparency for algorithms, and Musk has called for opening them up to public inspection.

Breton said he told Musk that EU law includes provisions to maintain users’ rights, such as giving them the right to appeal bans.