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Elon Musk says he’s considering lifting Donald Trump’s Twitter ban – ‘I think it was a morally wrong decision’

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Elon Musk says he will end Donald Trump’s ban on Twitter, adding he believes the decision to block the then-president was “morally wrong”.

In news that will be celebrated by Trump supporters as enthusiastically as it is condemned by his detractors, the tech billionaire who is in the process of buying the social media network, said the original decision was incorrect.

“I think it was a morally wrong decision, to be clear, and stupid in the extreme,” he said at a Future of the Car event hosted by the Financial Times.

He added: “I think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump. I think it was wrong – it alienated a lot of the country and ultimately didn’t stop Donald Trump from getting himself. hear.

He said the decision to ban Mr. Trump from Twitter, made after the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol, did not completely silence the former president’s voice. If anything, it amplified his views among people on the political right, Musk said.

Mr. Trump’s tweets were rarely elegant and often fell like clubbed blows. Often he would misspell things, only to delete them and start over.

Other times he let the errors linger, perhaps knowing that they would irritate people who thought that a president should not speak in often vulgar and intimidating terms, but that if he had to, he should at least use correct grammar.

Yet he knew full well the power of those tweets and relished being able to communicate directly with his supporters and foes alike, unfiltered by the media. He had nearly 90 million followers when he was banned and was the eighth most followed account, behind Barack Obama and Katie Perry.

But it was the power and influence of his voice on social media that resulted in his lifetime ban.

In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, the then-president took to social media to repeatedly make false claims that the election was rigged in favor of Joe Biden and that he was the real winner. .

Under pressure from critics who said he was using his account to spread dangerous misinformation, Twitter had previously added a “get the facts” warning to some of Mr Trump’s tweets. The number of these warning flags has increased.

His account was locked on January 6, 2001 for 12 hours after calling the hundreds of supporters who stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to block common houses certifying Mr Biden’s victory as “patriots”.

A few days later, Twitter said Mr Trump’s account was “permanently suspended… due to risk of further incitement to violence”. He said the decision was made “after careful consideration of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account.”

He was also banned from Facebook and Instagram, although they were turned into suspensions which, in theory, should end in January 2023.

There was no immediate reaction from Mr. Trump on Tuesday.

Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion

He previously said he had no intention of joining Twitter even if his account was reinstated, telling Fox News last month that he would instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which is mired in problems since its launch earlier this year.

“I don’t go on Twitter. I will stick to the truth,” Mr. Trump told the network. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he will improve it and he’s a good man, but I’m going to stick with Truth.”

Yet many commentators have suggested that Mr. Trump, 75, would find it hard to stay away, especially if he perceived him to be increasingly sympathetic to views like his, and especially if he decided to make another presidential candidacy in 2024.

Mr Musk, 50, CEO of Tesla, is in the process of buying Twitter for $44bn (£36bn). He said he wants to promote free speech on the platform.

At the London event, Mr Musk said Mr Trump had been denied a vote following the decision made 18 months ago.

“So I think it could end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate,” he said. “I guess the answer is that I would rescind the permanent ban.”

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