Elon Musk has described Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend former US President Donald Trump from the social media platform as a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme”, adding that he would reverse the ban.
“I would reverse the permanent ban,” said Musk at the Financial Times conference.
He added that banning Trump was “a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country” and that it “it didn’t end Trumps voice”, rather it only amplified it among the right, which is why the ban was “morally wrong and flat-out stupid”.
“Now, that doesn’t mean that somebody gets to say whatever they want to say if they say something that is illegal or otherwise just destructive to the world then should be perhaps a passive timeout, a temporary suspension, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited traction,” he said.
“But I think permanent bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion.”
According to Musk, who struck a deal last month to buy Twitter for $44 billion, his views are shared by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
Twitter made the decision to permanently suspend Trump’s account on 8 January 2021 after he published inflammatory tweets that encouraged rioters to attack the US Capitol.
Musk also noted during the FT conference that Twitter needs to be “much more even-handed”.
“It currently has a strong left bias because it’s based in San Francisco … this fails to build trust into the rest of the United States and also perhaps in other parts of the world,” he said.
Musk also envisions that his plans for Twitter will revolve around building trust by making the platform’s algorithm open-source.
“I would literally put the Twitter algorithm on GitHub and say, ‘Hey, anyone want to suggest changes to this? Please go ahead’,” he said.
“You really want transparency to build trust and any sort of adjustments to tweets or any human intervention with any account on Twitter should be highlighted as a Twitter person took the following action with your account or with this tweet, so that you’re not sitting there in the dark wondering, ‘Why did this tweet not get any attention?'”
The remarks by Musk follows a similar message he delivered when he announced his billion-dollar deal with Twitter where he described “free speech” as the “bedrock of a functioning democracy, and that “Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”.