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Elon Musk says he would allow Donald Trump back on Twitter

May 10, 2022, 5:53 PM UTC

Elon Musk just announced that if his bid to take over Twitter is ultimately successful, he will reverse the social media platform’s permanent ban on former President Donald Trump.

“I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country, and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” Musk said at a Financial Times conference, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

“I would reverse the permanent ban,” Musk added. “I don’t own Twitter yet. So this is not like a thing that will definitely happen, because what if I don’t own Twitter?”

Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter following his tweets about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Last week, a federal judge ruled against Trump’s challenge to the ban, which claimed the company acted under pressure of Democratic lawmakers. 

Twitter explained the reasoning behind permanently suspending Trump in a lengthy blog post at the time.

“After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service,” Twitter wrote.

If reinstated, Trump could again engage with his millions of supporters on the site ahead of a potential 2024 bid for the presidency. The former president has launched his own social network, Truth Social, and has said he will not rejoin Twitter, although some of his own advisers reportedly don’t believe him.

Musk submitted a winning $44 billion Twitter bid last month, which the company’s board unanimously approved. However, he is not the owner yet. 

Job interest in Twitter has skyrocketed since the Tesla billionaire’s acquisition. Although he has tweeted some specific plans for the company, there are still many questions about what Musk ownership will look like, and current employees have expressed concern over the change in ownership.

Musk has often spoken about what he perceives to be problems with “free speech” on the platform. 

“I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in the acquisition announcement. 

Musk has also previously tweeted a meme that appeared to criticize Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, who has discussed Twitter’s moderation policies and was involved in the decision to ban Trump. Her Twitter feed was immediately flooded with harassing messages. 

Many groups have previously speculated that a Musk takeover would mean the return of Trump. Republicans and Trump supporters celebrated his potential return following the acquisition. 

But other groups are not so enthusiastic. 

Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog organization, warned that a Musk Twitter takeover would leave the platform vulnerable to extremists and white supremacists. 

“The sale of Twitter to Elon Musk would be a victory for disinformation and the people who peddle it,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, in a statement shortly before Musk announced his successful bid for the company. “Musk could unleash a wave of toxicity and harassment and undo Twitter’s efforts to increase quality engagement and make its platform safer for users.”

This is a breaking story; please check back for updates.

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