After Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter goes through later this year, he plans to restore former US President Donald Trump’s account on the social media site. “I would reverse the permaban,” said the billionaire in a recent interview.
While talking to Financial Times this week Musk, who earlier stated that the deplatforming was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme”, said on May 10, “We should not have permabans”.
The microblogging site suspended Trump’s personal handle, @realDonaldTrump, in 2021, “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”.
It happened at a time when Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
At that time, the US Congress was attempting to recognise Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, and hundreds of his supporters descended on the building. Four civilians and a police officer were killed in the ensuing fighting.
At first, Trump’s handle was locked for 12 hours and then Twitter warned that it would ban the account “permanently” if the former president breached the platform’s rules.
Later, Trump posted two tweets. One of which stated: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
The other one said: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
After Trump made the first tweet, the platform said this “is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition'”. Later, after the second tweet came, the site said this was “being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate”.
The platform, headed by Jack Dorsey at that time, then said that both of those tweets were “in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy”.
However, Musk said that Trump’s voice was not silenced by the ban, rather “it amplified it among the right…and this is why it’s morally wrong and flat out stupid”.
The billionaire has referred to Twitter as the current era’s “de facto public town square”, the digital counterpart of a public forum. For that reason, he has previously expressed his displeasure with Twitter’s decision to permanently ban Trump.
But even if Donald Trump’s account is restored, it looks like he may not be coming back to the microblogging site. The former president recently said that he would not be returning to Twitter if his account were reinstated following the purchase of the platform by Musk.
The Republican leader said he would be using his own site, Truth Social, which after its initial release, was downloaded by more than one million users but interest appears to have waned due to technical issues and long wait times to access accounts.
However, Trump said, “I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” adding that Musk was a “good man” who would improve the service.
As reported by Fox News, he also said: “We’re taking in millions of people, and what we’re finding is that the response on Truth is much better than being on Twitter. Twitter has bots and fake accounts, and we are doing everything we can.”