His offer was initially turned down by Twitter, which put a “poison pill” measure in place to stop a takeover attempt by Musk. However, the two parties later entered talks before the deal entered its final stages of negotiations.
Now, speaking at a Financial Times conference on Tuesday, Musk described Twitter’s decision to permanently ban Trump as “morally bad” and “foolish in the extreme” (via Consequence).
Trump was kicked off Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following the failed insurrection attempt in the US in January 2021.
Twitter permanently banned Trump following the incident, citing repeated violations of its rules and that his tweets were “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021”, referring to the attack on the Capitol building by his supporters.
“I would reverse the permanent ban,” Musk said yesterday (May 9). He continued: “I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake,” Musk said. “It alienated a large part of the country, and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
Musk said that by banning Trump, the social media platform risked creating a “frankly worse” forum.
Elon Musk. CREDIT: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME
Musk shared a glimpse into his new policy for the platform last month: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means,” he tweeted.
Upon the deal being finalised, Musk also posted a quote on the platform in which he claimed that “free speech is the bedrock to a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”
He also explained that he aims to make the social media site “better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust”, and said he plans to “defeat spam bots” “while authenticating all humans”.
“Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” Musk concluded.
Jameela Jamil announced she was quitting Twitter after hearing the news that Musk had bought the site. “Ah he got Twitter,” Jamil said.
“I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet. Just really *any* excuse to show pics of [her pet dog] Barold.”
She went on to express her concerns over what direction Twitter would head in under Musk. “I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny,” Jamil wrote. “Best of luck.”
Others reacting to the news included Geoff Barrow who tweeted: “Hi Elon, you’re a twat. How’s about that for freedom of speech?”
While Anton Newcombe added: “Tell him and his ilk to go fuck themselves and provide directions.” Questlove tweeted: “Welp. What now.” You can check out some more of the reactions here.
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