When Elon Musk acquires Twitter, he plans to lift the social media platform's ban on former US President Donald Trump, the strongest indication yet of Musk's aim to reduce moderation.
Musk, the world's richest person and CEO of Tesla Inc, has agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion. He has described himself as a "free speech absolutist," but he has provided little specifics about his objectives.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Musk is anticipated to become Twitter's interim CEO after the sale is completed.
The topic of Trump's reinstatement has been viewed as a litmus test for Musk's willingness to reform.
Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey believe permanent bans should be "very unusual" and reserved for users who operate bots or disseminate spam, according to Musk, who spoke at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference.
Musk claimed that the move to ban Trump boosted Trump's popularity among conservatives, and he labeled the ban "morally incorrect and flat-out foolish."
Trump's account, which had more than 88 million followers, was suspended days before his tenure ended, putting an end to years of dispute about how social media companies should handle the accounts of strong world leaders.
Shortly after the melee on the US Capitol on January 6, Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter. In making its judgment, Twitter cited "the potential of future instigation of violence."
Musk has also stated that the platform must limit speech as required by law, and on Monday he told a European Union official that EU policy was "exactly aligned" with his own thinking, referring to a new law that imposes hefty fines on companies that fail to control illegal content such as children's advertising.
Conservatives have welcomed Trump's return, claiming that Twitter, based in San Francisco, is biased against right-wing ideas.
When asked about Musk's remarks, Republican Senator Rick Scott told reporters, "He (Trump) ought to be everywhere he can." "There should be no social media businesses that limit people's capacity to spread their ideas."
Democrats have warned that Trump's reinstatement could pose a threat to democracy, however some believe that a constantly tweeting Trump will enrage their base and boost turnout in November's legislative elections.
Twitter was unavailable for comment.
Trump previously told Fox News that if allowed, he would not return to Twitter, choosing instead to use his own social media program, Truth Social, a Twitter-like site that launched in late February and allows users to publish "truths" rather than tweets.
Trump has stepped up his messaging on the new platform after a poor start, publishing to his 2.7 million followers roughly 50 times in the previous week. When he was president, he sent out an average of 18 tweets every day.
A Trump spokeswoman did not respond immediately.
Truth Social is owned by Trump's corporation, which is merging with the blank-check acquisition firm Digital World Acquisition Corp.
Twitter's ban on Trump, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, is a matter for the corporation to decide. According to her, the Biden administration wants web platforms to maintain free expression while also ensuring that they are not used to spread misinformation.
Musk claimed during the conference that in the "best case scenario," the agreement to buy Twitter could be completed in two to three months.
Earlier on Tuesday, Twitter shares plummeted to a level that suggested the stock market did not anticipate Musk would complete the acquisition for $44 billion as promised.
Some Tesla investors are apprehensive about Musk's intention to go after Twitter, putting pressure on the stock. Musk also stated on Tuesday that he will remain at Tesla "as long as I can be useful."