Elon Musk stated on Tuesday that if his proposal to purchase Twitter is completed, the company’s ban on former US President Donald Trump will be lifted.
“I would revoke the permanent ban,” the billionaire stated at a Financial Times conference, adding that he does not yet control Twitter, so “this is not something that would absolutely happen.”
The Tesla CEO’s $44 billion bid to purchase Twitter still needs shareholder and regulatory approval, but he has expressed support for less content filtering and “time-outs” rather than bans.
“I believe that banning Donald Trump was incorrect,” Musk stated.
“I believe it was a mistake because it alienated a significant portion of the public and did not result in Donald Trump losing his voice.”
After supporters enraged by Trump’s tweets claiming election fraud invaded the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in a tragic and unsuccessful attempt to prevent Joe Biden from being confirmed as the winner of the US presidential election, he was banned from Twitter and other internet platforms.
Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey agree that permanent bands should be reserved for accounts that are spam, frauds, or managed by software “bots,” according to Musk.
“That doesn’t imply someone can say whatever they want,” Musk said.
“If they say something that is illegal or otherwise just destructive to the world, then there should be a perhaps a timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited attraction.”
Musk was adamant, though, that he feels permanent bans are a “morally bad decision” that undermine trust in Twitter as an online town square where everyone cane be heard.
He noted that Trump has stated publicly that he would not come back to Twitter if permitted, opting instead to stick with his own social network, which has failed to gain traction.
– Ad boycott? -Activist groups have called on Twitter advertisers to boycott the service if it opens the gates to abusive and misinformative posts with Musk as its owner.
“Your brand risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists,” said an open letter signed by more than two dozen groups including Media Matters, Access Now and Ultraviolet.
“Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached.”
Twitter makes most of its revenue from ads, and that could be jeopardized by advertisers’ reaction to content posted on the platform, the San Francisco-based tech firm said in a filing with US regulators.
Ad revenue at Twitter increased 16 percent to $1.2 billion in the recently ended quarter, while revenue from subscriptions and other means decreased to $94.4 million, the company said in the filing.
While Musk has not given specifics on how he plans to handle Twitter’s business, he has stated that he prefers to make money via subscriptions.
According to a recent regulatory filing by Twitter, an average of 229 million individuals utilized Twitter every day as of the end of March, up roughly 16 percent from the first three months of last year.
In the filing, the business stated, “We believe that our long-term success rests on our ability to improve the health of the public discourse on Twitter.”
Twitter informed authorities that it is working to combat abuse, harassment, spam, and “malicious automation,” or when software controls accounts instead of people.