ACLU backs resumption of Donald Trump’s Twitter after Elon Musk lifts ban

Twitter should allow former President Donald Trump to return to the social media site, the ACLU said on Tuesday, backing billionaire — and possibly Twitter owner — Elon Musk about restoring access to Mr. Trump argument.

The left-leaning ACLU, one of the former president’s most staunch legitimate opponents, has criticized the permanent ban on Mr Trump after Trump questioned the 2020 election results and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol of social media platforms. After Musk touted the idea on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union fully backed restoring Trump’s Twitter presence.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement. “When a few people wield so much power over the most important forum for political speech, they should exercise that power with restraint.”

Romero said Twitter should impose “lesser penalties” for any future violations by Trump on Twitter, such as removing posts by the former president that violated the rules. On January 9, 2021, three days after the melee on Capitol Hill, the company permanently blocked Mr. Trump’s website, citing Mr. Trump’s “risk of further incitement to violence.”

Musk, who is trying to raise the $44 billion needed to buy Twitter, said on Tuesday that he believes it would be wrong to permanently ban Trump and other users and believes the best solution is to take advantage of temporary restrictions.

“I think the answer is I’ll lift the permanent ban. Obviously, I don’t have Twitter yet, so it’s not necessarily something that’s going to happen,” Musk said at an event hosted by the Financial Times. “Because what if I didn’t have Twitter? But my opinion — and [former CEO] Jack Dorsey, I want to be clear, agree with this – we shouldn’t have a permanent ban. “

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Musk said inauthentic accounts should still face removal on Twitter, and said the platform should comply with national laws on disclosure and abuse.

The ACLU has previously criticized social media platforms for restrictions on Trump’s social media accounts, but its message on the Twitter ban has shifted from sympathetic to confrontational.

Last year, the ACLU senior legislative adviser Kate Ruan issued a statement saying that the ACLU understands the desire for a permanent suspension of social media platforms, but that people should worry that tech companies with unchecked power will one day attack the Trump’s opponent.

“President Trump can turn to his news team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others — like the many Black, Brown and LGBTQ activists who are scrutinized by social media companies — don’t have that luxury,” Ruane said. Ms. January 2021.

Romero’s statement on Tuesday was markedly less focused on opponents’ ideas of free, unrestricted speech online.

“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the most important political figures in this country, and the public has a lot of interest in listening to him,” Mr. Romero said. “In fact, some of Trump’s most offensive tweets ended up being key evidence in the lawsuits against him and his administration. We should know — we brought over 400 legal cases against him.”

While Mr. Musk and the ACLU support Mr. Trump’s path back, the former president may not use the platform again if given the chance. Mr. Trump told Fox News last month that he would not return to Twitter, but would stay on his own platform, Truth Social.

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