Elon Musk says he wanted to reverse Twitter’s Trump ban

Musk’s statements at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car conference mark his first public acknowledgment of what had been widely expected since the billionaire announced plans to buy the social media giant for $ 44 billion.

Musk has previously said that he thinks Twitter should be more “reluctant to delete things” and “very careful about permanent bans”. On Tuesday, he called Twitter’s decision to ban Trump in January 2021 a “mistake.”

“I do not think it was right to ban Donald Trump, I think it was a mistake,” Musk said. “I wanted to reverse the perma ban … But my opinion, and Jack Dorsey, I want to be clear, share this view, is that we should not have a perma ban.”[ads1];

Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and former CEO, twitret Tuesday after Musk’s comments that he “agrees” that there should be no permanent ban on Twitter users. “There are exceptions … but in general, permanent bans are a failure for us and do not work,” he said.

Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s statements.

Elon Musk is raising another $ 7 billion in funding for the Twitter deal
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter after the Capitol uprising on January 6 for violating the platform’s rules against incitement to violence, a decision the company has said was led by Dorsey. Other social platforms followed by banning or suspending Trump’s account.
Trump, for his part, has said he would not return to Twitter even if his account was restored, instead of promoting his own social media venture, Truth Social, which so far has seemed to be struggling to get started.

“Excluding Trump from Twitter did not end Trump’s vote, it will strengthen it among the right, and this is why it is morally wrong and simply stupid,” Musk said during the event on Tuesday.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss admitted that his acquisition of Twitter, and Trump’s return, is not yet a complete deal. “I want to say I do not own Twitter yet, so this is not something that will definitely happen, because what if I do not own Twitter?” he said.

There are still some questions about whether Musk will really go through the agreement, or about the decline in Tesla (TSLA) shares in the last month may adversely affect his ability to finance the deal. Twitter (TWTR) The stock traded around $ 47.70 on Tuesday afternoon, well below Musk’s offer price of $ 54.20 per share, indicating that investors are skeptical about the likelihood of the deal being completed.
That has not stopped Musk from continuing to elaborate on his plans for the platform in recent weeks. Musk has said that his goal is to strengthen freedom of expression on the platform and make it clearer to users when the platform takes actions that affect what people see on Twitter.

On Tuesday, he reiterated the desire to get rid of Twitter with robots that promote spam or scams, and his plan to make Twitter’s algorithm publicly available for all to see and comment.

“I would literally put the Twitter algorithm on GitHub and say like ‘Hey, anyone want to suggest changes to this? Please continue, “Musk said, adding that he sees such a move as a way to” build openness and trust. “

He also criticized what he sees as Twitter’s political bias, and reproduces claims by some prominent figures on the right.

“I think Twitter needs to be much more equal. It currently has a strong left because it is based in San Francisco,” he said. “I do not think the people there necessarily intend, or at least some of them do not intend to have a left-leaning bias. They only look, from their perspective, moderate, but they only come after it from an environment that is very far to the left. “

(Twitter has previously said that their algorithms and employees do not discriminate against any particular political point of view.)

In addition to reversing the Trump ban, Musk said he would make permanent bans “extremely rare” and reserve them for “bots or spam, fraudulent accounts where there is simply no legitimacy to the account at all.”

Musk also expanded his vision for Twitter’s content moderation. Musk has previously said that he intends for Twitter to limit content moderation to what governments have considered explicitly illegal – and not go much further.

But on Tuesday, Musk admitted that there may be a wide range of offensive content that he wants Twitter to enforce. In addition to illegal content, Musk identified two other categories of content that could be punished: speech that is “destructive to the world” and “wrong and bad.”

“If they say something that is illegal or otherwise just destructive to the world, maybe it should be a timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited traction,” Musk said. He added: “I think if there are tweets that are wrong and bad, they should either be deleted or made invisible, and a suspension is a temporary suspension appropriate, but not a permanent ban.”

Musk did not say what calculations Twitter can use to determine whether a tweet can be “wrong and bad” or “destructive to the world”, and when it can choose one type of punishment over another.

Correction: An earlier version of this story missed the date of Trump’s exclusion from Twitter. It was January 2021.

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