Elon Musk’s comment that he would reverse former President Donald Trump’s permanent ban on Twitter could result in Facebook and YouTube doing the same, a Washington Post reporter suggested Wednesday.
Musk, who’s buying Twitter for $44 billion, said Tuesday that Trump’s Twitter ban was a “morally bad decision,” “foolish in the extreme,” and that he would allow Trump to return to the social media platform.
“I would reverse the ban,” Musk said. “But I don’t own Twitter yet.”
Even the American Civil Liberties Union agreed with Musk’s decision.
The Washington Post’s Cristiano Lima wrote Wednesday that Musk might have created an opening for Facebook, YouTube, and other social media companies to reinstate Trump.
Evelyn Douek, a lecturer at Harvard Law School and senior research fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute, told the Post that Twitter reinstating Trump could trigger a “reverse domino effect.”
“We often see in moments of high-profile public pressure on platforms — like the banning of Alex Jones or Trump — that there’s a domino effect and all the platforms move at the same time and in the same direction,” Douek told Lima, adding that a social media platform “being an outlier makes you a ripe target for specific criticism.”
Twitter and Snapchat banned Trump permanently after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and other companies imposed temporary or indefinite suspensions.
Facebook’s oversight board admonished the company for hastily suspending Trump’s account indefinitely without clear criteria. The Big Tech giant then said the suspension would last for at least two years and only be rescinded if “the risk to public safety has receded.”
Trump’s YouTube account initially was suspended for a “minimum” of seven days, citing “the ongoing potential for violence” around his account, and later the suspension was extended to indefinitely.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in March 2021 that the platform would lift the suspension “when we determine the risk of violence has decreased,” but the company has not explained how it’s evaluating said risk.
On Monday, Musk said Twitter has a left-wing bias when enforcing its content standard policy.
The billionaire answered a Twitter post from conservative political commentator Mike Cernovich, who tagged Musk’s account while complaining that Twitter failed to act on an alleged incitement of violence from Rewire News Group reporting fellow Caroline Reilly.
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