Science & Technology

Elon Musk says Trump’s Twitter ban was ‘stupid’ and he’d like to reverse it

Elon Musk said In a lengthy interview today at a Financial Times conference that one of the things he’d like to do with Twitter Inc. is to remove the ban on former President Donald Trump.

After the chaos that happened on Capitol Hill last year, Trump was hit with a permanent ban on Twitter, a platform on which he had accrued quite the following. Facebook Inc. and Google LLC-owned YouTube also kicked Trump off their platforms. Trump later filed a lawsuit, calling the bans “illegal, shameful censorship of the American people” and he started his own social media platform, Truth Social.

In April, Twitter Inc.’s board of directors accepted Musk’s offer of $43 billion to buy the platform, although there are still some matters to be ironed out before he can call himself the owner of Twitter. He has since talked a lot about the acquisition, with many of the discussions centered around his apparent dedication to embracing free speech – what he called the “bedrock of a functioning democracy.”

It’s not surprising, then, that when discussing the future of the car today Musk (pictured) said the ban on Trump would be reversed under him, calling it a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.” In no certain terms, he also said the ban was “flat-out stupid” and “alienated a large part of the country.”

“Now, that doesn’t mean that somebody gets to say whatever they want to say if they say something that is illegal or otherwise just destructive to the world then should be perhaps a passive timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited traction,” he said. “But I think permanent bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion.”

Talking further about Twitter’s fundamental problems, he said that on account of the platform being based in San Francisco, it “has a strong left bias” and that doesn’t bode well for building trust in the U.S. and beyond. To rebuild that trust, his intention is to make Twitter’s algorithm open-source.

“I would literally put the Twitter algorithm on GitHub and say, ‘Hey, anyone want to suggest changes to this? Please go ahead,’” he said. In that case, he added, when Twitter takes action on certain posts, people will see what the platform is up to.

As for Trump, maybe he won’t go back even if invited. “I won’t be going back on Twitter,” he told CNBC in April. “I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual. We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter.” He added that his own platform will rival other social media platforms, although that remains to be seen.

Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

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