Elon Musk said it would allow President Trump to return to Twitter if Tesla’s chief executive takes ownership of the company, canceling the former president’s January 2021 suspension for his incendiary tweets about the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. United States.
During a virtual appearance at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference on Tuesday, Musk said that “a temporary suspension is appropriate, but not a permanent ban.” He added that the decision to suspend Trump was “morally wrong” and led conservatives to move to more island spaces.
“Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t put an end to Trump’s rumor; he will amplify it in the right, ”he said.
Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s statement, including whether the company’s current leadership plans to ratify Musk’s decision or preemptively thwart it.
Musk’s comments come as Twitter users expressed concern that Musk, who is looking to buy the site for $ 44 billion, would consider some content moderation efforts aimed at keeping malicious content off the platform as censorship. Allowing Trump to return to the platform would fit Musk’s continued criticism of how the app approaches free speech.
Two days after the attack on the Capitol, Twitter announced it would do so permanently suspended trump “Because of the risk of further incitement to violence.” Since being banned, Trump has used press releases and rally appearances to communicate to his supporters, often repeating the false and unfounded claim that there was widespread election fraud during the 2020 election.
trump he told Fox News late last month that he would not rejoin Twitter if given the chance, but would continue to promote Truth Social, the so-called free-speech-focused Twitter competitor that Trump launched after being banned on various social media platforms. The app had technical problems atrophy user base and high level resignation – Trump’s use of the site appears to be much less frequent than his previous time on Twitter.
Other apps that appeared at one point triggered to remove a sizable conservative user base from Twitter, like Parler and Gab, they failed to go mainstream.
But the implications aren’t limited to Twitter. The platform has historically been something of a social media weather vane, indicating the directions in which the sector is heading. Its content moderation decisions often preceded similar calls from Facebook.
While Twitter permanently banned Trump within two days of the January 6 uprising, Facebook switched to suspended Trump’s indefinite account, dot the specifics of that timeline to the company’s third-party supervisory board, which in turn sent the decision right behind on Facebook. Forced to make the call itself, Facebook extended the former president’s ban until January 7, 2023.
If Musk overturns the Twitter ban, it could provide coverage or create pressure for Facebook to do the same thing. Representatives of Facebook, whose parent company was recently renamed Meta – did not say whether or how a reversal of Trump’s ban on Twitter would affect the former president’s parallel ban from his platform, but pointed to the Times at mid-2021 statements. supervisory board Other Facebook which established Trump’s two-year ban.
If Trump were to reenter Twitter, it is unclear whether returning to the platform would help him or the Republican Party.
For four years, Trump’s Twitter feed offered a real-time narrative of his presidency, with missives that would dominate the daily news cycle. But despite its vast reach – the account had around 88 million followers when it was banned – it wasn’t necessarily a hit with voters.
A 2017 Wall Street Journal / NBC survey found that two-thirds of Americans disapproved of Trump’s presence on Twitter. And in February 2020, a survey by he economist / YouGov found that a majority of voters said Trump’s Twitter was inappropriate and 65% said he tweeted too frequently.
“I think there are a lot of people in his world who would encourage him not to go on Twitter,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based Republican strategist who has been critical of Trump.
Trump’s presence on Twitter could also have a detrimental effect on the GOP’s medium-term campaigns. Republicans hope their messages on inflation, gas prices, crime and immigration will help them overturn one or both houses of Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority.
Though Trump’s approval has helped candidates for the crowded Republican primary, most recently Ohio Senate primary winner JD Vance, his tweets have historically dominated the news cycle at the party’s expense.
“Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, I don’t think, are at all thrilled that this election is a referendum on Donald Trump,” said Kurt Bardella, a former GOP communications expert who now advises the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic. Congressional Campaign Committee. , referring to Republican minority leaders in the House and Senate.
After Republican Glenn Youngkin won the race for governor of Virginia in 2021, Bardella said: “There has been a lot of talk on both sides of the spectrum about how Youngkin was able to lead a ‘keep Trump at arm’s length’ campaign. “. That blueprint would be much harder for other Republicans to follow with Trump regaining his megaphone on social media.
“Ultimately, he does everything about himself,” Bardella said. “If he is able to rejoin Twitter, every candidate running on the Republican list will have to answer for how their party leader reacts to things. They will not be able to avoid it. “
But Trump’s allies, many of whom have criticized what they see as anti-conservative bias in how the platform moderates content, praised the news that Musk would allow Trump to return.
“The days of Twitter to obliterate conservatives are over,” tweeted Brent Bozell, the founder of the Media Research Center, a conservative control group.