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FILE - Elon Musk attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, May 2, 2022, in New York. Elon Musk, who’s offering to buy Twitter, has given his support to a new European Union law aimed at protecting social media users from harmful content after he met with the bloc’s single market chief. In a video tweeted late Monday, May 9 by EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, Musk said the two had a “great discussion” and he agrees with the bloc’s online regulations. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, file)
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Musk says he would reverse Twitter's ban of Donald Trump

30 Comments
By MATT O'BRIEN, KELVIN CHAN and TOM KRISHER

Elon Musk said he will reverse Twitter’s permanent ban of former President Donald Trump should the Tesla CEO complete his accepted offer to acquire the social media company for $44 billion.

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.

While Trump was president, his Twitter persona functioned as a mix of policy announcements, often out of the blue; complaints about the media; disparagement of women, minorities and his perceived enemies; and praise for his supporters, replete with exclamation marks, all-caps, and one-word declarations such as “Sad!”

He fired numerous officials on Twitter and his posts, like his speeches at rallies, were a torrent of misinformation.

In announcing Trump's ban, Twitter said Trump tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Musk’s remarks raise questions about whether those banned besides Trump could also return. The long list of people banned from Twitter includes QAnon loyalists, COVID deniers, neo-Nazis and former reality star Tila Tequila, who was suspended for hate speech.

Other Trump allies kicked off Twitter include Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was permanently banned in January for repeatedly spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccine safety.

White supremacist David Duke and the often violent Proud Boys organization have been banned, along with far-right trolls like one who goes by the name Baked Alaska, who promoted anti-Semitic tropes and faces charges stemming from his involvement in the Jan 6 attack.

Conspiracy theorists also have been eliminated. David Icke was kicked off the platform two years ago for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, including claims that Jews and 5G towers were behind the pandemic. Icke is a prominent advocate of the belief that a race of lizard people have taken over the Earth by posing as human leaders.

Alex Jones, the creator of Infowars, was permanently banned in 2018 for abusive behavior. Last year, Jones lost a defamation case filed by the parents of children killed in the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting over Jones’ repeated claims that the shooting was fake.

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.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


30 Comments

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Of course he would. Because it is wrong, has always been wrong and was only done to push a leftist agenda.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Like we didn’t see this coming.

Oligarchs stick together, even American ones.

The issue is that Trump’s tweets were inciting people to violence. Similar to shouting fire in a crowded theater or posting rewards for hit jobs.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Elon Musk said he will reverse Twitter’s permanent ban of former President Donald Trump

Hallelujah right?

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.

Musk is not a Tony Stark style self-made inventor but he does have business savvy. After securing the left flank he is triangulating right.

I think he cannily observed how easy it is to make the right fall down in blind worship of a prominent figure and wanted to get some of that.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Correct decision, anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded. But expect the mob of unhinged lefty harpies to be decrying the world is ending because they are scared of hearing opposing opinions.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Trump’s Twitter account was a filthy toilet but it could be funny at times. The tweet of him staying in power for decades before Biden gave him an absolute hiding was funny.

I hope he doesn’t start linking to dodgy videos from known racist organizations again though.

That wasn’t funny. It was pure trash.

Anyway, let the s##tgibbonry continue!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

This isn’t violence?

To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms,' Lightfoot tweeted. 

'We will not surrender our rights without a fight—a fight to victory!'

not banned or even suspended. This is a call for armed insurrection.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

not banned or even suspended. This is a call for armed insurrection

Do you want the person who tweeted it suspended or banned?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Do you want the person who tweeted it suspended or banned?

He's exposing the hypocrisy.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Nope. I want people to see and hear her words so that law enforcement action can be taken. and so that people can realize what nonsense Dems talked when they claimed using the word “fight” is insurrection.

I like for people to see Dem hypocrisy and double standards in the light not hidden in darkness.,

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Nope

Fair enough.

What’s your view on people posting links to dodgy videos from racist groups which do not show what they purport to show?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

a person should be able to view said video if they choose to do so and if it’s contents interest them.

then decide what they think based on what they see and the credibility of who posted it. Simple.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

In the US, the "liberals" have replaced the ancient church as the most oppressive and anti-free-speech force. Those with weak ideas are always afraid of free speech.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Show me the videos and the documents and the comments of supposed “racist” groups.

then I will decide what is “racist” to me. Don’t claim something is racist as an excuse to not show me what it was.

that person retweeted a racist video! Ok let me watch it. You can’t, but I’m telling you it was racist! No…..how do YOU know it was racist? You got to see it but I can’t?

same with violent content. It varies by person what we consider as violent. Should be able to see it and make our own decision.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

True story?

I made an artistic pic of a friend with a lovely tuchus my banner pic on a former account at Twitter. Nothing disgusting, mind you. Instantly had the account frozen. I asked why and the form response was that the pic had "violated their community standards." I could easily have replaced it, but that was not option--just an instant freeze of the account. Meanwhile, there is plenty of porn to be seen, plenty of hate, threats, and vitriol spewed from people left, right, and center, plenty of lies and conspiracy theories shared and Twitter is just fine with that.

If the company, much like IG and FB, goes under tomorrow, I would not weep a tear.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

He fired numerous officials on Twitter and his posts, like his speeches at rallies, were a torrent of misinformation.

Any reader of mainstream Western media is subject to a "torrent of misinformation" every day, Twitter is no exception. Anti-war and independent media outlets are being kicked off Twitter and having their Paypal accounts seized or frozen simply for performing their tasks as journalists, while real Nazis are allowed to freely post whatever misinformation they like.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

...Icke is a prominent advocate of the belief that a race of lizard people have taken over the Earth by posing as human leaders.

And you think it 'dangerous' for someone to announce that in public? LOLs and swishes tail

Given the state of the planet we need these people online for light relief. The legal system is perfectly capable of locking up anyone who breaks a law on social media, and prisons will have rules on tweeting.

The dangerous misinformation and lies usually come from our politicians in formal policy announcements and conference speeches. And they have a free pass for lying to the public, online or otherwise.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I am about as far left as you can possibly be, and I don't particularly like Elon Musk. I especially don't like Donald Trump. I also disagree that Twitter has a leftist bent, it has a liberal bent which is not remotely the same thing.

That said, I think this is ultimately a very fair position, just because I disagree with basically everything the man has said doesn't mean I think he should have been banned.

While we are at it, there has been a lot of leftist figures on twitter that have been banned that should probably have their bans revoked too, and other figures like George Galloway that have had those ridiculous Russia/Chinese Media badge wrongly affixed. They're probably not high profile enough to warrant it.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Elon Musk on Twitter's chief censor Vijaya Gadde in front of all employees per Twitter employee post:

All your tweakings of the Algorithm have been noted, you are a disgrace to free Speech.

Then he asked how many times had the Algorithm been tweaked to serve the existing Government

Musk yelled “Twitter publishes FREE SPEECH. Someone tweets that you are a woman of loose morals, You sue that person in court. YOU DONT CENSOR THEIR SPEECH!!!!”

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Beware of people who use exclamation points too much!!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Don't like Elons' decision? Don't use Twitter!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Alfie NoakesToday  09:00 am JST

Any reader of mainstream Western media is subject to a "torrent of misinformation" every day,

But Eastern mainstream media is fine? Russian, North Korean, Chinese for example?

while real Nazis are allowed to freely post whatever misinformation they like.

For example?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

GBR48Today  09:19 am JST

...Icke is a prominent advocate of the belief that a race of lizard people have taken over the Earth by posing as human leaders.

For most people, myself included, Icke is an entertaining comedy act.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Not a fan of Trump. I find the fat guy disgusting, low IQ and racist. But it would be 'interesting' to see him back. You know that American tactic of 'divide and conquer'?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

This is going to be fun :-)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Time to buy popcorn futures.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People only followed him on Twitter because he was president, now the world just doesn’t care, he’s powerless.

If I’m going to follow a retired, uninformed, failed businessman, I would rather at least follow one that makes better jokes.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

People are so fierce and vocal defending and invoking freedom when it comes to even such things as mask wearing but conspicuously mute and slinking when it comes to defending freedom of speech

4 ( +5 / -1 )

it would be ‘interesting’ to see him back

I found him more funny than interesting, but a lot of it was retweeting trash memes like hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.

His early morning tweets were a bit deranged.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

People are always foolish to think they are smarter than Trump. Trump has called for companies to pull out of Chinese factories, condemning European countries for substandard military spending and their over-reliance on Russian energy. People think they are smart, congratulations people enjoying the energy crisis and inflation. Congrats people enjoying the blackmail.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What can you expect? between clowns they help each other.. lol..

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

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