Elon Musk finally said the silent thing out loud, telling a live audience that yes, he would cancel former president Donald Trump’s Twitter ban if his purchase of the company goes through.
In a live automotive conference hosted by the Financial Times Tuesday afternoon, the Tesla CEO and prospective Twitter buyer said he would allow Donald Trump back on Twitter, despite the former president being permanently banned two days the Jan. 6 insurrection in 2021 for stoking violence with his tweets.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake,” Musk said. He did not think it was “correct” to ban Trump, adding that he would reverse the perma-ban.
“Banning Trump from Twitter will not end Trump’s voice. It will amplify it among the right, and that is why it is morally wrong and flat-out stupid,” the SpaceX CEO said.
A prolific tweeter himself, Musk couched his comment by saying “I will say that I don’t own Twitter yet, so this is not a thing that will definitely happen, because what if I don’t own Twitter? But my opinion, and Jack Dorsey, I want to be clear, shares this opinion, is that we should not have perma-bans.”
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Musk has stated his goal is to maximize free speech on the social network, which he predicts would anger both the far political left and right.
“I don’t think this is a situation where you get a lot of praise,” he said, laughing. “You just balance the anger.”
He’s previously stated that Twitter has a leftward political bias, and he reiterated the point Tuesday.
“Twitter needs to be much more even-handed. It currently has a strong left bias. It is based in San Francisco,” he said.
Previous Twitter CEO Dorsey tweeted a response after Musk made his comments, saying that he agrees with Musk that, other than for supposed “illegal behavior” or spam, “permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work.”
Musk further added that he believes perma-bans undermine trust in the platform, adding that if a tweet is “illegal or otherwise just destructive to the world” that he would rather give the user a “a timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited traction.”
Despite anticipation from grandstanding conservatives that Musk’s version of Twitter will be a bastion of free speech and will roll back bans on their accounts as well, Donald Trump has publicly said he would be staying on his struggling social network, Truth Social, even if Musk gives him back his account.