Musk: ‘I guess I would’ reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter ban
When Elon Musk buys Twitter, he plans to reverse the social media platform's ban on former US President Donald Trump, the clearest indication yet of Musk's intention to reduce moderation.
Musk has agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion. He has described himself as a "free speech absolutist," but he has provided few specifics about his plans.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Musk is expected to become Twitter's interim CEO after the deal is completed.
The question of Trump's reinstatement has been viewed as a litmus test for Musk's willingness to change.
Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey believe permanent bans should be "extremely rare" and reserved for accounts that operate bots or spread spam, according to Musk, who spoke at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference.
Musk claimed that the decision to ban Trump boosted Trump's popularity among conservatives, and he called the ban "morally wrong and flat-out stupid."
Trump's account, which had more than 88 million followers, was suspended days before his term ended, putting an end to years of debate over how social media companies should handle the accounts of powerful global leaders.
Shortly after the riot on the US Capitol on January 6, Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter. In making its decision, Twitter cited "the risk of further incitement of violence."
Musk has also said the platform must limit speech as required by law, and he told a European Union official on Monday that EU policy was "exactly aligned" with his own thinking, referring to a new law that levies hefty fines on companies that do not control illegal content such as advertising aimed at children.
Musk said during the conference that in the "best case scenario," the deal to buy Twitter could be completed in two to three months.
Earlier on Tuesday, Twitter shares fell to a level that suggested the stock market did not believe Musk would complete the acquisition for $44 billion as agreed.