Elon Musk reportedly appointed himself to the CEO role at Twitter and is expected to reverse lifelong bans on users—including the ban imposed on former President Donald Trump.
As reported last night, Musk completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter and immediately fired CEO Parag Agrawal and several other high-ranking executives. Bloomberg reported today that Musk appointed himself CEO but cited an anonymous source as saying that Musk “may eventually cede the Twitter CEO role in the longer term.” Musk is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
Bloomberg’s source provided details on Musk’s plan to reverse lifelong bans:
Musk also intends to do away with permanent bans on users because he doesn’t believe in lifelong prohibitions, the person said. That means people previously booted oﬀ the platform may be allowed to return, a category that would include former president Donald Trump, the person said. It’s unclear however if Trump would be allowed back on Twitter in the near term.
This isn’t much of a surprise. In May, Musk said Twitter’s decision to ban Trump was “morally wrong and flat-out stupid,” and that he would reverse the ban if he completed his pending acquisition of Twitter. “If there are tweets that are wrong, those should be either deleted or made invisible, and a temporary suspension is appropriate, but not a permanent ban,” Musk said at the time, speaking at a conference.
Musk also said that “permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots or spam, scam accounts, where there’s no legitimacy to the account at all. I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump.”
Twitter’s leadership page hadn’t been updated as of this writing, as it still lists Agrawal as CEO. Bloomberg’s report that Musk named himself Twitter CEO doesn’t seem to have been confirmed by any other major news organizations yet. But with Agrawal out, Musk is clearly in charge whether he’s just the owner or both the owner and CEO. A CNBC report in May said that “Musk is expected to serve as a temporary CEO of Twitter for a few months” after he completes the deal.
Twitter banned Trump to prevent further incitement
Twitter banned Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, explaining that “we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” With Trump attempting to overturn his election loss and making baseless claims that the election was stolen, Twitter said that Trump’s tweets “must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”
Trump now posts on Truth Social, a social network he launched through the Trump Media & Technology Group. Trump has claimed he won’t go back to Twitter even if his ban is reversed. But in a Truth Social post this morning, Trump wrote, “I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs that truly hate our country.”
In a tweet after closing his purchase of Twitter, Musk wrote, “the bird is freed.” In another tweet replying to a user who complained of being shadowbanned, Musk wrote that he “will be digging in more today.”
“Let the good times roll,” Musk also tweeted this morning.
The executives fired by Musk are getting big severance payments, with Agrawal “set to receive the largest payout of $38.7 million, due largely to the entirety of his shares vesting upon his firing,” Business Insider reported.
Update: Musk indicated in a tweet this afternoon that there won’t be any major content moderation changes or account reinstatements right away. “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” Musk wrote.