Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said he backs Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s plan to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account on the platform, calling the move to ban Trump a “business decision” and a “failure.”
Musk suggested on Tuesday he would overturn Trump’s suspension from Twitter if his takeover bid for the social media platform ends in success.
Twitter banned Trump from the platform following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, claiming his posts violated a glorification of violence policy.
Speaking at a Future of the Car event hosted by the Financial Times on May 10, Musk addressed Trump’s Twitter ban, saying he thinks “it was a morally bad decision to be clear and foolish in the extreme.”
Dorsey backed Musk’s remarks, saying in a series of posts on Twitter that the decision to permanently suspend Trump from the platform was a mistake.
“I do agree. There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol),” Dorsey said in a post responding to a user who said Musk believes Dorsey agrees with him that “there shouldn’t be permanent bans on individual Twitter users.”
Dorsey said in a follow-up post that banning Trump was a misguided “business decision.”
“It was a business decision, it shouldn’t have been. and we should always revisit our decisions and evolve as necessary. I stated in that thread and still believe that permanent bans of individuals are directionally wrong,” Dorsey wrote in the post.
Musk has offered to buy Twitter for around $43 billion, saying he wants to actualize the company’s “extraordinary potential” to become a true platform for free speech.
‘Time-Outs’ Rather Than Bans
Musk has earlier expressed reluctance about permanent bans of users from Twitter, preferring instead temporary “time-outs.”
“I’m not saying that I have all the answers here,” Musk said at a recent TED talk in Vancouver, Canada. “But I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things, just be very cautious with permanent bans. Time-outs I think are better than permanent bans.”
Musk was asked point-blank during the Future of the Car event about allowing Trump back on the social media platform.
“So I guess the answer is … I would reverse the perma-ban” on Trump’s account, Musk said, cautioning that he “[doesn’t] own Twitter yet.”
“Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts,” Musk added.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake … It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” he said.
Musk went on to argue that permanent bans undermine trust in Twitter.
“If there are tweets that are wrong and bad, those should be either deleted or made invisible, and a suspension—a temporary suspension—is appropriate, but not a permanent ban.”
In terms of adjusting Twitter’s moderation policies, Musk said earlier he’d want to err on the side of free speech.
“If in doubt, let the speech, let it exist,” Musk said. “If it’s a gray area, I would say let the tweet exist. But obviously in a case where there’s perhaps a lot of controversy, that you would not want to necessarily promote that tweet.”
“A good sign as to whether there’s free speech is, is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like,” Musk said. “And if that is the case, then we have free speech.”
Trump, for his part, has welcomed the prospect of Musk taking over Twitter but the former president said he would not return to the platform and would instead stay on Truth Social.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.