On Tuesday, Elon Musk mentioned he would reverse Twitter’s ban of former President Donald Trump, who was booted in January 2021 for inciting violence on the US Capitol.
On Tuesday, Elon Musk mentioned he would reverse Twitter’s ban of former President Donald Trump, who was booted in January 2021 for inciting violence on the US Capitol, ought to he reach buying the social platform for $44 billion.
But the day earlier than, the Tesla CEO additionally mentioned he agrees with the European Union’s new Digital Services Act, a regulation that can require large tech corporations like Twitter, Google and Facebook dad or mum Meta to police their platforms extra strictly for unlawful or dangerous content material corresponding to hate speech and disinformation.
The obvious contradiction underscores the steep studying curve awaiting the world’s richest man as soon as he encounters the complexity of Twitter’s content material moderation in dozens of languages and cultures. Twitter has to adjust to the legal guidelines and rules of a number of international locations whereas bearing in mind the response of advertisers, customers, politicians and others.
“He certainly wouldn’t be the first person to say, ‘I’m going to do this’ and then realize that either they don’t really want to do it or their users don’t want them to do it,” mentioned David Greene, civil liberties director on the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Speaking nearly at an auto convention, the Tesla CEO mentioned that Twitter’s ban of Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”
“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,” mentioned Musk. He mentioned he most popular short-term suspensions and different narrowly tailor-made punishments for content material that’s unlawful or in any other case “destructive to the world.”
Earlier within the day, Musk met with EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton to debate the bloc’s on-line rules. Thierry advised The Associated Press that he outlined to Musk how the EU goals to uphold free speech whereas additionally ensuring no matter is prohibited “will be forbidden in the digital space,” including that Musk “fully agreed” with him.
In a video Breton tweeted late MondayMusk mentioned the 2 had a “nice dialogue” and added that he agrees with the Digital Services Act, which is expected to get final approval later this year. It threatens Twitter and other big tech firms with billions in fines if they don’t police their platforms.
Shares of Twitter dropped 1.5% Tuesday to $47.24 per share. That’s 13 percent below the offer of $54.20 per share that Musk made on April 14, a reflection of Wall Street’s concerns that the deal could still fall through. Musk stressed Tuesday that it is “actually not a finished deal.”
“If Musk is concerned that many people were upset that Trump was banned, he should see how many more people would be upset if Trump was not banned,” said Kirsten Martin, a professor of technology ethics at the University of Notre Dame. “Musk only appears to be worried about the opinion of a small group of individuals who incite violence or perpetuate hate speech.”
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.
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment in response to Musk’s comments.
While Trump was president, his Twitter feed offered 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 its 2021 ban of Trump, Twitter said his tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of then President-elect Joe Biden.
Musk’s remarks Tuesday 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.
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 US and the world, he said: “It’s far too random and I feel Twitter must be rather more even handed.”
Twitter declined to touch upon Musk’s feedback.