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Former US president Donald Trump. Picture: GAELEN MORSE/REUTERS
Former US president Donald Trump. Picture: GAELEN MORSE/REUTERS

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former US president Donald Trump, while speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference.

Musk has inked a $44bn deal to acquire the social media platform and his plans are still not clear. He has called himself a “free speech absolutist” and signalled there would be less moderation on the site.

On Tuesday, Musk that he and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey believe permanent bans should be “extremely rare” and reserved for accounts that operate bots or spread spam.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silenced his primary megaphone days before the end of his term and follows years of debate about how social media companies should moderate the accounts of powerful global leaders.

Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter shortly after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in its decision.

The decision amplified his views among people on the political right, Musk said, calling the ban “morally wrong and flat-out stupid”.

Trump previously told Fox News that he would not return to Twitter even if Musk purchases the platform and reinstates his account, and said he would use his own social media app called Truth Social, a Twitter-like platform that launched on the Apple app store in late February and in which users post “truths” instead of tweets.

The platform is owned by Trump Media & Technology Group, which is led by Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman. There was no immediate comment from a Trump spokesperson.

During the conference, Musk said the deal to acquire Twitter could be done in two to three months in the “best case scenario.” But he added Twitter has not yet filed the proxy for a shareholder vote to approve the deal, and there were still outstanding questions that needed to be resolved.

Earlier on Tuesday, Twitter shares fell to a level that indicated the stock market took the view for the first time that it was unlikely that Musk would make the acquisition for $44bn, as he originally agreed.

Reuters 

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