Elon Musk said on Tuesday that if the deal to buy Twitter goes through, he would lift the ban on former US President Donald Trump decided by the platform after the Capitol storming, a decision he considers "morally bad" and "foolish".

"would reverse the ban"said the billionaire in a conference of the Financial Times, although he clarified that since he does not yet own Twitter, "this is not something that is sure to happen".

Musk’s support for Trump’s return to the global messaging and microblogging platform quickly fueled fears among activists that Musk could "open the floodgates of hate".

The Tesla chief’s $44 billion bid to buy Twitter has yet to win the backing of shareholders and regulators, but Musk has argued for less content moderation and suspensions rather than bans.

"I think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump"Musk said.

"I think it was a mistake because it marginalized a large part of the country and ultimately did not result in Donald Trump having no voice.".

Trump was banned from Twitter and other social networks after his supporters, inflamed by his tweets alleging voter fraud, attacked the United States Congress on January 6, 2021 in a failed attempt to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as the victor. of the presidential.

"Elon Musk could open the floodgates of hate and misinformation on Twitter"said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a media disinformation monitoring organization.

"Whether Elon Musk is a far-right radical or just someone very interested in enabling right-wing extremists, the result is the same."he added.

Backing down from fighting disinformation and right-wing extremism on Twitter would put pressure on other networks to do the same in a race to the bottom, Carusone added.

Musk said his stance is similar to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s that permanent bans should be rare, reserved for accounts that are spam, scams, or run by. "bot" of software.

"That doesn’t mean someone can say what they want to say"Musk said. "If they say something that is illegal or just destructive to the world, then maybe there should be a timeout, a temporary ban, or that particular tweet should be made invisible or have very limited visibility.".

However, Musk insisted that permanent bans are a "morally bad decision" that undermines trust in Twitter as a public online plaza where everyone can be heard.

Trump noted that Trump has publicly stated that he would not return to Twitter if allowed, opting instead to stick with his own social network, which has failed to gain ground.

– Activists –

Activist groups have called on advertisers on Twitter to boycott if, under Musk’s leadership, the network opens the door to abusive or misleading posts.

"Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks being a disinformation sewer, with your brain glued on"more than two dozen media and network activism groups such as Media Matters, Access Now and Ultraviolet said in an open letter.

Twitter gets most of its revenue from advertising, and that could be compromised by advertisers’ reaction to content posted on the San Francisco-based network.

While Musk has not revealed details about how he will run the company, he has already expressed a preference for making money from subscriptions.

"We believe that our long-term success depends on our ability to improve the public conversation on Twitter."the company recently said in a presentation.

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