'THE BILLIONNAIRE AND THE DEMAGOGUE': Elon Musk slammed for wanting to allow Donald Trump back on Twitter

'Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts,' Musk said of Trump's ban


                            'THE BILLIONNAIRE AND THE DEMAGOGUE': Elon Musk slammed for wanting to allow Donald Trump back on Twitter
Musk said he would reverse Twitter's ban on Trump (Getty Images)
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Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Tuesday, April 10, that he would reverse Twitter's ban on former President Donald Trump while speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference. Musk is set to buy Twitter for $44 billion, a deal which he struck on April 25. The firm, which was publicly traded, will now become a private company owned by the world's richest man. Musk reportedly negotiated a purchase price of $54.20 per share.

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Musk has been a steadfast proponent of ‘free speech’ on Twitter. The Tesla co-founder had earlier opened up about an ‘Edit Button’ on the platform and held a poll, deliberately misspelling yes and no, possibly to bring to the users' attention that the button is needed as people often make typographical errors while tweeting. Twitter has reportedly now confirmed the Edit button will be introduced.

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"Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," Musk has said in a statement released by Twitter. "I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential - I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."

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“Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts… I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump,” Musk said at FT Live’s Future of the Car conference. “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.”

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“I would reverse the permanent ban,” added Musk, who is expected to become interim CEO after the firm's takeover. “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?”

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey agreed with Musk, claiming that banning Trump’s Twitter account was a “business decision” and “shouldn’t have been”. He also suggested that Twitter “should always revisit” its decision and “evolve as necessary”.

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Trump, who had 80 million followers on Twitter, was permanently suspended from the platform in January 2021 following the attack by his supporters on the US Capitol. Twitter said it made the decision after the riot “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

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Musk's statement on his wish to bring back Trump on Twitter is being widely criticized on the platform. "By reinstating Trump, Elon Musk is condoning lies and disinformation. He’s clearly comfortable with someone inciting violence to overthrow our Government. The march towards Autocracy continues," actor Rob Reiner wrote on Twitter. President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Noah Bookbinder, said, "Giving someone who tried to overturn an election and helped incite an insurrection a major forum to continue undermining democracy is dangerous. Neither Elon Musk nor anyone else should reverse Donald Trump's Twitter ban."

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"To be honest, I own two tesla's but frankly @elonmusk isn't talking about free speech, Trump wasn't exorcised from twitter because of politics or beliefs, it was because of covid and election disinformation. He told flat out lies. Lies that caused division and death. So GFY Elon," comedian Titus wrote on Twitter. Attorney Glenn Kirschner wrote, "So Elon Musk wants Trump back on Twitter. No surprise. But I WAS surprised by what Musk said about why he was so offended when Twitter banned Trump. Some people want America to be a place where up is down, light is darkness & insurrection is patriotism." "It's not a victory for "free speech" if Donald Trump is allowed back on Twitter by Elon Musk. It's just the choice of a billionaire to platform a demagogue who already used the app to incite mass violence and launch a frontal assault on American democracy," said co-founder and CEO of Tech Policy Press Justin Hendrix.

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