Elon Musk said Twitter would reverse its ban of former President Donald Trump if his purchase of the social media company goes through, signaling just how permissive the platform could become toward free speech under his ownership.
Speaking virtually at an auto conference, the Tesla CEO said Tuesday that Twitter's ban of Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”
“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,” said Musk, adding that he preferred temporary suspensions and other narrowly tailored punishments for content that is illegal or otherwise “destructive to the world."
Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey voiced his agreement in a Tuesday tweet in which he said “generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work.”
Musk has repeatedly criticized Twitter’s content moderation decisions, including banning Trump for “incitement of violence,” but had mostly avoided saying what he would do about Trump’s account.
Trump has previously said that he had no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account was reinstated, telling Fox News last month that he would instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which has been mired in problems since its launch earlier this year.
Twitter, Musk said Tuesday, currently has a strong bias to the left, largely because it is located in San Francisco. This alleged bias prevents it from building trust in the rest of the U.S. and the world, he said: “It’s far too random and I think Twitter needs to be much more even handed.”
For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2022
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.