While former US President Donald Trump is likely to make a return to Twitter, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Wednesday said that de-platforming is a violation of the fundamental rights of the users.
The MoS, reacting to Elon Musk calling the decision to ban Trump from Twitter “morally bad”, said that there must be a set force of law to establish who is to be banned and on what grounds, and added that it must never be done arbitrarily.
Taking to Twitter, Chandrasekhar said, “De-platforming is a big deal- It’s a violation of fundamental rights of users and must have a force of law behind it for any platform to exercise and must never ever be done arbitrarily.” At the ‘Future of the Car’ event hosted by the Financial Times, Elon Musk had said that if his deal to acquire Twitter is completed he would restore Donald Trump’s banned account on the microblogging website.
“I think it was a morally bad decision to be clear and foolish in the extreme,” he said, adding that permanent bans undermine trust in Twitter.
Musk further said that if there are tweets that are wrong and bad, those should be either deleted or made invisible, and a suspension–a temporary suspension–is appropriate, “but not a permanent ban”.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake … It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” he added.
The Tesla tycoon’s USD 44 billion takeover bid was accepted by Twitter’s board of directors last month, but it still needs regulatory approval. Trump has said he would have no interest in rejoining Twitter even if his account were reinstated, insisting that he plans instead to stick with his fledgling social media network, Truth Social.
Last week, Musk denied a report that Trump had encouraged him to buy Twitter, tweeting that he has had “no communication, directly or indirectly,” with the former president.
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter following the January 6 Capitol Riot for violating the platform’s rules against incitement of violence, a decision, the company has said, was taken when the company was headed by Jack Dorsey. Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s comments.
Trump, for his part, has said he would not return to Twitter even if his account were restored, instead of promoting his own social media venture, Truth Social.
Musk agreed last month to buy Twitter in a USD 44 billion deal. However, he said that the transaction wasn’t a done deal and that several steps, including a Twitter shareholder vote, still needed to be completed.