Elon Musk said that he would reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter ban if the president fixed his administration. The Tesla CEO tweeted, “If you put someone on a watchlist and thereby prevent them from flying, it’s not right.”
“I believe that banning Donald Trump was incorrect. Mr. Musk, who was speaking electronically at the Financial Times Future of the Car symposium, said, “I believe that was a mistake because it alienated a significant section of the population and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
Mr. Musk described the suspension as a “morally poor judgment,” claiming that permanent bans erode Twitter’s confidence.
“If there are tweets that are incorrect and harmful, they should be erased or hidden,” Mr. Musk said. “A suspension—a short suspension—is reasonable, but not a lifetime ban.”
Mr. Musk agreed to acquire Twitter for $44 billion last month. He stated Tuesday that the agreement wasn’t finalized yet and that numerous procedures remained, including a vote by Twitter shareholders.
To grow Tesla’s business in China, Elon Musk has developed tight relationships with Beijing. Now that he’s bought Twitter and is concentrating on free speech, the Wall Street Journal examines how China has exploited the Social Media network to push its agenda, and why this is causing worry. Sharon Shi contributed to this illustration.
He believes that barring Mr. Trump would boost the former president’s voice among right-wing political supporters. Mr. Trump has said that he has no plans to return to Twitter and is instead concentrating on his social media company, Truth Social.
Mr. Trump sent out tweets that Twitter administrators saw as encouraging violence in the run-up to a mob of his supporters storming the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory. On January 8, 2021, Twitter permanently suspended Mr. Trump’s account.
Mr. Trump’s representatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Last week, a federal court dismissed Mr. Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter and its then-CEO Jack Dorsey for claimed suppression. Twitter was unavailable for comment.
Some Republican politicians, including some who support Mr. Trump, have quietly expressed relief that he isn’t on Twitter because they won’t have to respond to every inflammatory remark he makes.
Mr. Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter and a member of its board of directors, said Tuesday that “usually permanent bans are a failing of ours and don’t function.” He sent a link to a series of tweets he wrote in January 2021 outlining the platform’s decision to ban Mr. Trump, which he described as “the correct action for Twitter.”
Mr. Dorsey stated at the time, “Offline damage as a consequence of online expression is undeniably real, and it is what motivates our policy and enforcement above all.”
Mr. Musk also said that Twitter is biased toward the left and that the social media platform “needs to be much more evenhanded.” He attributed some of his political views to Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.
Mr. Musk predicted that the Twitter transaction would take at least another two or three months to conclude.
The billionaire businessman, who has compared Twitter to a public square and a venue for the exchange of ideas, underlined his demand for various reforms to the network, including the removal of bots and frauds. He also reiterated his commitment to making Twitter’s software code open source so that it may be widely examined and adjustments suggested. He said, “You truly want openness to develop trust.”
He previously said that he wanted to make Twitter less reliant on advertising, which is now the platform’s primary source of income.
Mr. Musk, who has styled himself as a “free speech absolutist,” has said that Twitter would abide by local content regulations. After his original vision for the platform caused worries among European authorities, he met with a senior European Union official this week and claimed his ambitions for Twitter were consistent with the bloc’s new laws requiring social-media firms to do more to monitor unlawful material.
—This article was co-written by Alex Leary.
Rebecca Elliott can be reached at [email protected]
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8