Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he would reverse Twitter's ban on Donald Trump, confirming what many had expected.
Musk said at the Financial Times' Future of the Car conference that permanent bans lessen users' trust in Twitter, and banning Trump was a “morally bad decision," the Wall Street Journal reported. Musk said that in the case of a person posting inappropriate tweets, a "temporary suspension" is acceptable, but not a full ban.
“I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump," Musk said. "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's plans for Twitter have been emerging in full view in the weeks since he announced his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. Musk has long been a self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist," claiming that his purchase of Twitter is not for economic gain, but "for the moral good." Musk has heavily criticized Twitter, calling a "de facto public town square" whose content policy "fundamentally undermines democracy." He aims to strip down its content moderation in favor of a laissez-faire policy toward what can and can't be posted, and reversing Trump's ban is apparently the first step in doing so. Critics of Musk's Twitter acquisition have said that walking back the work that Twitter has done with content moderation would let bots and trolls overrun the app with abusive tweets and spam. (This would also make it more difficult for Twitter to sell ads.)
Twitter banned Trump last January for "the risk of further incitement of violence" as the Jan. 6 insurrection unfolded. Even if the ban was lifted, however, Trump said he wouldn't go back to Twitter, opting instead for his own platform, Truth Social. We'll see if he keeps his word.