Musk, speaking virtually at a Future of the Car summit hosted by the Financial Times, said Twitter’s Trump ban was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.” He said permanent bans of Twitter accounts should be rare and reserved for accounts that are scams or automated bots.
“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 said. “So I think this may end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate. I guess the answer is that I would reverse the permanent ban.”
Musk has repeatedly criticized Twitter’s content moderation decisions, including the Trump ban, but had mostly avoided saying what he would do about Trump’s account until he was pressed for more details Tuesday by Peter Campbell, a Financial Times automotive correspondent. Twitter banned Trump's account in January 2021 for “incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump has previously said that he had no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account was reinstated, telling Fox News last month that he would instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which has been mired in problems since its launch earlier this year.
“I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump told the network. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth.”
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment in response to Musk’s remarks.
Twitter, Musk said Tuesday, currently has a strong bias to the left, largely because it is located in San Francisco. This alleged bias prevents it from building trust in the rest of the U.S. and the world, he said: “It’s far too random and I think Twitter needs to be much more even handed.” Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk's comments.
Earlier, Musk said he supported a new European Union law aimed at protecting social media users from harmful content after he met with the bloc's single market chief.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he outlined to Musk how the bloc’s online regulations aim to uphold free speech while also making sure whatever is illegal “will be forbidden in the digital space,” which Musk “fully agreed with.”
In a video Breton tweeted late Monday, Musk said the two had a “great discussion" and that he agrees with the Digital Services Act, which is expected to get final approval later this year. It will make big tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook parent Meta police their platforms more strictly for illegal or harmful content like hate speech and disinformation or face billions in fines.