The investor says the decision to permanently suspend the former president alienated parts of the US but did not “end Trump’s voice.”
Billionaire Elon Musk has said he would reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter ban if he did. succeed in taking possession of the social media company.
Speaking at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car conference on Tuesday, Tesla’s chief executive called the decision to block the former US president’s account indefinitely “morally wrong and completely stupid”.
“Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice; he will amplify it between the right. And that is why it is morally wrong and completely stupid,” he said.
While noting he doesn’t own Twitter yet, Musk, who describes himself as a free-speech absolutist, said he would “reverse the permanent ban” from Trump. He also criticized indefinite suspensions on the platform in general.
Last month, Twitter’s board unanimously agreed to sell the platform to Musk for $44 billionbut the deal still requires shareholder approval.
Likely immediate acquisition sparked a debate around freedom of expression and the role of social media platforms in regulating the flow of information.
Many American conservatives applauded the prospect of a less regulated Twitterverse, with top Republicans urging Musk to reinstate Trump’s account, which was suspended indefinitely after the US Capitol riots on January 6, 2021.
“After a thorough review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence,” Twitter said in a statement at the time.
Trump supporters had violated and looted the Capitol building to prevent Joe Biden’s election victory from being certified, as the former president and some Republicans falsely claimed there was widespread protest. electoral fraud in the race.
On Tuesday, Musk called the former Twitter president’s ban “foolish in the extreme,” saying the decision “alienated much of the country and ultimately did not result in Donald Trump having no voice.”
Trump’s posts while in the White House constantly generated controversy and at times caused international controversy. diplomatic crises.
Musk noted that Trump had previously said he would refuse to return to Twitter even if the ban is lifted, and would instead remain alone. social truth platform.
“I think this could end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate,” Musk said.
Despite his defense of unregulated speech, Musk suggested that he endorses some moderation measures against “destructive” posts, including temporary bans and making tweets invisible to other users. He did not specify exactly what the “destructive” posts referred to.
When asked about Trump’s possible return to Twitter, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed general concern about misinformation on social media websites.
“I would say that it is the decision of a private sector company to decide who will be able to access their platforms or not,” he said on Tuesday.
“What I will say in general terms is that our effort is, of course, to make sure that freedom of expression is protected throughout the country, but also that these platforms are not used. [as] disinformation forums.
After Musk’s deal was approved on Twitter in April, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a US civil rights group, warned the billionaire not to allow Trump back on the platform.
“Mr. Musk: Free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable. Disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech have NO PLACE on Twitter,” the NAACP said in a statement.