UPDATED 5/12, 6:45 p.m.: Elon Musk has once again said that he believes that Trump’s Twitter account should be brought back. Despite thinking that, Musk said that he’d prefer “a less divisive candidate” in the 2024 presidential election.
“Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,” Musk wrote on Thursday.
UPDATED 5/11, 11:20 a.m.: Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey has weighed in on Elon Musk’s comments regarding Donald Trump’s permanent ban, amid which the Tesla CEO said Dorsey is “of the same mind that permanent bans should be extremely rare.” (Musk also said the company’s decision was “morally wrong and flat out stupid.”)
First, an Axios editor tweeted, “Musk says @jack agrees with him that there shouldn’t be permanent bans on individual Twitter users. Reminder that Dorsey was CEO when such bans were implemented.”
Dorsey responded, saying, “I do agree. There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol).”
This itself was a quote-tweet of a January 2021 thread-starting post declaring, “I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here.”
Jack continued to engage in back-and-forth about Twitter’s ban system after Musk’s remarks, saying it was “a business decision, [and] it shouldn’t have been,” that “twitter isn’t a bar,” and “a corporation should not have to make this decision in the first place.”
See original story below.
Elon Musk has big plans for Twitter, and one of them is sure to cause a commotion.
The Tesla CEO and incoming owner of the social media platform told the Financial Times, as noted by Axios, that Twitter’s ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump was “foolish in the extreme” as well as “morally wrong and flat out stupid.” He added that he “would reverse” the permanent ban.
“Obviously, I don’t own Twitter yet, so this is not a thing that will definitely happen,” Musk said, acknowledging this is potentially hypothetical but also a thing we could in fact see.
Musk’s comments came during a keynote interview with the publication, embedded up top.
“I talked to Jack Dorsey about this, and he and I are of the same mind that permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots or spam, scam accounts, where there’s just no legitimacy to the account at all,” the 50-year-old said. “I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump, 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.”
Musk went on to discuss how Trump launched his own social media platform in Truth Social back in February, which has seen “a large part of the right” join with him. Musk said this could “end up being, frankly, worse” than having a “single forum where everyone could debate.”
“We should not have perma-bans,” he said. “Now, that doesn’t mean that somebody gets to say whatever they want to say. If they say something that is illegal or otherwise destructive to the world, then there should be perhaps a time out, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited traction. But I think perma-bans just fundamentally undermine trust and Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion. I think it was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme.”
As history books will soon note, Trump was removed from Twitter over tweets that were accused of inciting violence in regard to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot. His comments needed to be read in the “context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences,” Twitter shared at the time.
When Musk was asked about the circumstances of Trump’s ban from the platform, he said tweets that are “wrong” or “bad” should be “deleted or made invisible.” Musk also noted that Trump claimed he would not return to the platform.
“A temporary suspension is appropriate,” he said. “But not a permanent ban…banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice, it will amplify it among the right, and that is why it is morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”