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Elon Musk says Trump’s Twitter ban after Capitol attack was a ‘major mistake’

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By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – The Twitter ban on then President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters was a “major mistake” that needed to be corrected, the chief said Friday by executive Elon Musk, although he also said incitement to violence would continue to be banned on Twitter.

“I’m fine with Trump not tweeting. The important thing is that Twitter corrects a serious mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service,” Musk said in a tweet. “A sitting president’s deplatforming has undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.”

Last week, Musk announced the reactivation of Trump’s account after a slim majority voted in a Twitter poll in favor of reinstating Trump, however Trump said he had no interest in returning to Twitter. He added that he would stick with his social media site Truth Social, the app developed by Trump Media & Technology Group.

Republican Trump, who announced 10 days ago that he would run again for election in 2024, was banned on January 8, 2021 from Twitter under his previous owners.

At the time, Twitter said it had suspended it permanently due to the risk of further incitement to violence following the storming of the Capitol. The results of the November 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden had been certified by lawmakers when the Capitol came under attack after weeks of false claims by Trump that he had won.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter and other sites to falsely claim that there was widespread vote fraud and had urged supporters to march on Capitol Hill in Washington to protest.

The attack is being investigated by US prosecutors and a congressional committee.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday about Musk’s statement that Trump did not violate any Twitter terms of service when his account was suspended.

On Friday, Musk tweeted that calling for violence or inciting violence on Twitter would result in a suspension, after saying on Thursday that Twitter would provide a “general amnesty” to suspended accounts that hadn’t violated the law or been involved in the spam.

In response to a tweet, Musk said it was “very concerning” that Twitter hadn’t taken any action earlier to remove some accounts related to the far-left Antifa movement. In response to another tweet asking whether Musk considered the statement “trans people deserve to die” worthy of a suspension from the platform, the billionaire said, “Absolutely.”

Change and chaos marked Musk’s first few weeks as Twitter owner. He fired top managers and it was announced that senior officials in charge of security and privacy had resigned.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Denny Thomas, Katie Paul and Grant McCool)