Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on 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, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” recently inked a $44 billion deal to acquire the social media platform.
The decision to ban Trump from Twitter did not silence the former president’s voice, but rather amplified his views among people on the political right, Musk said, calling the ban “morally wrong and flat-out stupid”.
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter shortly after the Jan 6 riot on the US Capitol. Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in its decision.
That assault followed a speech by Trump in which he reiterated false claims that his election loss was because of widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.
Trump’s lawyers alleged in a court filing that Twitter “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.”
At the time of removing Trump’s account permanently, Twitter said his tweets had violated the platform’s policy barring “glorification of violence.” The company said then that Trump’s tweets that led to his removal were “highly likely” to encourage people to replicate what happened in the Capitol riots.
Before he was blocked, Trump had more than 88 million followers on Twitter and used it as his social media megaphone.