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Musk Can’t Ignore Trump’s Threat to Democracy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Elon Musk said today that he would reverse Twitter’s ban on disgraced and twice-impeached former President Donald Trump. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“Donald Trump has used Twitter and social media to drive an authoritarian, proto-fascist movement that is a clear and present danger to our democracy. There’s nothing hypothetical about this – he used social media to spread the Big Lie about the 2020 election and to encourage a violent insurrection on Jan. 6. Trump continues to spread the Big Lie and continues to threaten democracy.

“Elon Musk is wrong to believe Twitter can turn a blind eye to this danger – and not acknowledge the ways Trump has used the platform to facilitate his authoritarian crusade. And he is wrong to believe that it is sufficient to remove specifically abusive Tweets or impose temporary suspensions on Trump for future wrongdoing. The Trump problem is not about individual tweets but the steady narrative of anti-democratic lies.

“Platform moderation decisions are hard. Permanent bans on individuals are, all things equal, undesirable. Platforms should appropriately give more leeway to political figures, all things equal. With all that said, the moderation decision around Trump really isn’t that hard. He should remain permanently banned.

“American democracy is in peril, and Twitter and social media are part of the problem. It is incumbent on Twitter and other social media corporations to recognize the threat, their complicity, and their obligation to act affirmatively to protect democracy – including by denying Trump a platform for hate, lies, demagoguery, and authoritarianism.”