Elon Musk Says He Would Lift Twitter Ban on Donald Trump: 'I Think That Was a Mistake'

"Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts," the Tesla CEO said on Tuesday

Elon Musk and Trump
Elon Musk, Donald Trump. Photo: Getty (2)

Donald Trump may be coming back to Twitter — at least, if Elon Musk's acquisition of the social media platform moves forward.

On Tuesday, the 50-year-old Tesla CEO said that, if his deal to acquire Twitter goes through as planned, he would reverse the permanent ban against Trump that was put in place following the riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Speaking at FT Live's Future of the Car conference Tuesday, Musk said the ban on Trump's verified account was a "mistake" and that he would "reverse" it if he owned the social media platform.

"Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts … I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump," Musk said, according to a CNBC report. "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 was quick to note, however, that he hasn't yet acquired Twitter.

"I would reverse the permanent ban," he added. "I don't own Twitter yet. So this is not like a thing that will definitely happen, because what if I don't own Twitter?"

In late April, the social media company announced it had "entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company."

In his own statement, Musk said called Twitter "the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," adding that he planned to enhance the platform with his takeover.

"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans," he said in the statement. "Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."

The transaction, which was unanimously approved by Twitter's board, is expected to close in 2022 — though the terms of the deal could still change.

Trump's verified Twitter account was permanently suspended in January 2021, following the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, in which his supporters stormed the building as lawmakers counted the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden's November election win.

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," the social media platform announced at the time.

In a company blog post, Twitter cited two of Trump's tweets sent during the riots — which included a declaration that he would not be attending Biden's inauguration — as a "violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy."

According to Twitter, the statement could be "received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets ... by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an 'orderly transition' on January 20th."

The company argued that Trump's use of the phrase "American Patriots" in another recent tweet "is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol."

"The mention of his supporters having a 'GIANT VOICE long into the future' and that 'They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!' is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an 'orderly transition' and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election," the platform noted.

The president's permanent suspension came days after Twitter locked Trump's account for 12 hours, requiring the removal of three tweets "for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy." At the time, the company warned further violations of its policies "will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."

In addition to Twitter's ban, Facebook announced that same month that Trump would be banned "indefinitely" from its platforms following the rioting at the Capitol.

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