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Elon Musk says he would allow Donald Trump to return to Twitter

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Elon Musk said on Tuesday he would allow former President Donald Trump to return to Twitter if the Tesla CEO follows through on his plan to buy the social media company. Trump was permanently banned from the social media site three days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol because of the “risk of incitement to violence.”

In an exclusive interview with the Financial Times at the Future of the Car conference on Tuesday, Musk was asked about Trump’s potential return to Twitter. After responding with comments about when the permanent bans should be enforced, Musk said he would “reverse the permanent ban” against Trump, adding, “I don’t own Twitter yet, so that’s not a something that will definitely happen.”

Musk noted that Trump has since used the Truth Social platform, which was created by Trump Media & Technology Group. Following Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, Trump said he still wouldn’t consider returning to the platform, even if his account was reinstated.

Instead, he told Fox News last month that Truth Social’s user numbers were growing and that the platform was “much better than being on Twitter.”

“At the end of the day, no, I’m not going back to Twitter,” he said.

But Trump using a different platform, Musk said, is “worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate.”

“Twitter, like all social media platforms, really thrives on engagement and there’s no more engaging individual than the former president,” CBS News’ @DanPatterson said after Elon Musk said that he would overturn the Twitter ban on Pres. Trump if his acquisition goes through. pic.twitter.com/JCLM6p1bUw

— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 10, 2022

“I think that was a mistake because it alienated a lot of the country and ultimately didn’t stop Donald Trump from being heard,” Musk said. “…banning Trump from Twitter hasn’t ended Trump’s voice. It will amplify it among the right, and that’s why it’s morally wrong and downright stupid.”

Trump was banned after last year’s deadly assault on the US Capitol. Prior to the attack, he regularly touted conspiracy theories and false claims of voter fraud, both of which contributed to the Jan. 6 attack, in which a mob of his supporters tried to quash the election. 2020 presidential election.

“After careful consideration of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence,” Twitter said in a statement at the time.

Asked if he stood by his statements, even considering Twitter’s original reasoning for banning the then-president, Musk said “bad” tweets should simply be deleted or made invisible. A “temporary suspension” would also be appropriate, he said.

“Permanent bans fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a public place where everyone can express their opinion,” he said. “I think it was a morally wrong decision, to be clear, and stupidly extreme.”

Musk said he thinks permanent bans should be “extremely rare” and reserved for “bots or spam/scam accounts”. However, that doesn’t mean people will be able to say whatever they want, he said.

Anyone who posts something illegal or “destructive to the world” should face a “time out”, temporary suspension or have their tweet made invisible, Musk said.

Musk struck a deal in late April to buy Twitter for $44 billion, saying after the deal was announced he planned to ensure the platform was dedicated to free speech.

“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said in a statement.

The deal with Twitter could be completed this year.

Li Cohen

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