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Businessman Elon Musk, who will buy Twitter for $44 billion, said on Tuesday he intended to reverse the ban of former US President Donald Trump from the social network. He considers this permanent suspension “morally bad”.
Elon Musk has set himself up as a fierce defender of freedom of expression. In this sense, he said he was ready, Tuesday, May 10, to lift the final suspension of Donald Trump’s account implemented after the attack on Capitol Hill, a “morally bad” decision in his eyes.
If he manages to buy Twitter for 44 billion dollars, “I would lift the permanent suspension” of the former president, said the businessman during a conference organized by the Financial Times.
The former US president was banned from Twitter on January 8, 2021 due to the risk of incitement to violence following the violent attack on the Capitol. With 88 million subscribers, the platform was until then its main daily communication tool.
Twitter founder and ex-boss Jack Dorsey said at the time that Donald Trump’s sidelining was “the right” decision, but was nonetheless a “failure” and “(set) a precedent” which seemed to him “dangerous” in relation to the power held by big business.
Preference for temporary suspensions
“I think it was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and ultimately did not prevent Donald Trump from being heard” since he is now on his own social network, underlined the entrepreneur.
Permanent bans should be “extremely rare” and reserved for fake accounts, for example, he added during his video intervention.
Lifting the former president’s ban “doesn’t mean anyone can say what they want, if they say something illegal or destructive to the world,” the Tesla boss said. “But I think permanent bans fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a public place where everyone can express their opinion.”
He also felt that Twitter was “politically biased to the left”, because it was based in San Francisco, and needed to be “more impartial”.
But the multibillionaire, who wants to withdraw Twitter from the Stock Exchange, has already proclaimed that he wants to make it a bastion of freedom of expression, which he considers flouted by too strict content moderation. On Tuesday, he made clear his preference for temporary suspensions or removal of the most problematic tweets rather than outright bans.
A return ruled out by Donald Trump
The Twitter takeover operation is not yet finalized. If the offer of the boss of Tesla has been accepted by the board of directors, the shareholders must still approve the agreement and “several questions must still be resolved”, recalled Elon Musk. “In the best case, it may be done in two or three months.”
These statements come as Donald Trump himself has ruled out returning to the social network, saying he wants to stay on the Truth Social platform he launched in February. However, it is still struggling to grow the account of the former tenant of the White House only has 2.7 million subscribers.
With AFP and Reuters