Musk, who is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said it was a mistake for Twitter to suspend the former president’s account in early 2021.
When asked point-blank virtually during a Future of the Car event hosted by the Financial Times allowing Trump back on the social media platform, Musk described Trump’s ban as morally wrong and “flat-out stupid.”
“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,” added Musk, estimated to be the world’s richest person with a net worth of more than $260 billion. “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.
Permanent suspensions, he argued, 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.”
After it was announced last month that Musk would purchase Twitter for $44 billion, Trump told several news outlets that he would not be coming back to Twitter, a platform where he had amassed more than 80 million followers. Instead, Trump said he would focus on his Truth Social venture.
Musk said that he would place an emphasis on freedom of speech and rolling out new features once he takes control of Twitter. Closing such a deal could take months, and Twitter’s management, including CEO Parag Agrawal, is still in charge of the firm.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump told Fox News on April 25. “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.”
In recent years, Twitter has drawn criticism for suspending and targeting conservative and Republican users, like Trump, with Musk himself writing Monday that the company has displayed a left-wing bias. Twitter has also permanently banned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) personal account, COVID-19 vaccine critic Dr. Robert Malone, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and many more.
The San Francisco-based social media firm has also adopted rules that favor left-wing views, including banning using certain pronouns to refer to people claiming to be transgender.