Elon Musk says he would reverse 'foolish' Donald Trump Twitter ban

10 May 2022, 21:53 | Updated: 10 May 2022, 21:58

Elon Musk would allow Donald Trump to return to Twitter
Elon Musk would allow Donald Trump to return to Twitter. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Elon Musk has said he would reverse Twitter's "foolish" ban on Donald Trump if his takeover of the social media giant is successful.

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Mr Musk, the world's richest man with an estimated fortune of $269bn, agreed to buy Twitter in a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover last month.

Former US president Mr Trump was a committed user of the platform, amassing more than 88 million followers, until he was "permanently suspended".

READ MORE: Trump vows not to return to Twitter despite 'free-speech absolutist' Elon Musk's takeover

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He was kicked off due to the "risk of further incitement of violence" after the January 2021 Capitol riots in Washington.

Mr Musk said tweets which are illegal or "destructive" should be deleted or hidden, but permanent account suspensions should be "extremely rare".

Speaking virtually at the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit on Tuesday, the Tesla owner said: "I would reverse the permanent ban but I don't own Twitter yet so this is not a thing that will definitely happen."

He added: "Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots or spam, scam accounts. I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump.

"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."

"I think it was a morally bad decision and foolish in the extreme," he said.

Mr Trump's Twitter account had already been temporarily suspended when he was banned, while large numbers of his posts had been hidden behind warning labels for breaching rules around misinformation relating to the US election.

The permanent ban quickly extended to other platforms, including Facebook.

He has since launched his own social media platform, Truth Social, in an attempt to reclaim the online megaphone once given to him by Twitter, but with limited success.

Hours before Mr Musk reached a deal with Twitter he posted online: "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means."

However, Mr Trump said even though Twitter was under new ownership, he would not return.

"I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth," he told Fox News.

"I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth."

He added: "The bottom line is, no, I am not going back to Twitter."