Critics responded with alarm to tech billionaire Elon Musk\u0026#039;s confirmation Tuesday he will end former President Donald Trump\u0026#039;s permanent suspension from Twitter if his purchase of the company is finalized.\r\n\r\n\u0022Giving someone who tried to overturn an election and helped incite an insurrection a major forum to continue undermining democracy is dangerous,\u0022 declared Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). \u0022Neither Elon Musk nor anyone else should reverse Donald Trump\u0026#039;s Twitter ban.\u0022\r\n\r\nPublic Citizen executive vice president Lisa Gilbert similarly said that Trump\u0026#039;s reinstatement is \u0022a categorically bad idea\u0022 and \u0022the ban should stand.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRobert Weissman, Public Citizen\u0026#039;s president, also warned against allowing the former president back on Twitter after his lies about the 2020 election results and incitement of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol—which led to Trump\u0026#039;s historic second impeachment and bans on multiple online platforms.\r\n\r\n\u0022Elon 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,\u0022 he said.\r\n\r\nDuring a Financial Times conference on Tuesday, Musk said that \u0022I don\u0026#039;t own Twitter yet\u0022 but \u0022I would reverse\u0022 Trump\u0026#039;s permanent ban, which he described as \u0022a morally bad decision... and foolish in the extreme.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe Twitter ban was \u0022a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,\u0022 Musk argued, noting that the former president has signaled he won\u0026#039;t return to the platform.\r\n\r\n\u0022I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,\u0022 Trump—who is expected to run for president in 2024—told Fox News last month, referring to his own recently launched platform. \u0022I hope Elon buys Twitter because he\u0026#039;ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on TRUTH.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMusk—citing his conversations with Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey—also made a broader case on Tuesday that permanent bans \u0022should be extremely rare\u0022 and reserved for issues like bots and spam accounts. He suggested problematic tweets could be handled on a case-by-case basis with possible temporary account suspensions.\r\n\r\nDorsey confirmed in a tweet that he agrees with Musk on permanent bans.\r\n\r\nACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement Tuesday that \u0022you\u0026#039;d be hard-pressed to find a more steadfast opponent of Trump and his policies than the ACLU, but Elon Musk\u0026#039;s decision to replatform President Trump is the right call.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022When a handful of individuals possess so much power over the most important forums for political speech, they should exercise that power with restraint,\u0022 Romero continued. \u0022If Trump violates the platform rules again, Twitter should first employ lesser penalties like removing the offending post—rather than banning a political figure.\r\n\r\n\u0022Like it or not, President Trump is one of the most important political figures in this country, and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,\u0022 he added. \u0022Indeed, some of Trump\u0026#039;s most offensive tweets ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration. And we should know—we filed over 400 legal actions against him.\u0022\r\n\r\nAccording to Weissman at Public Citizen:\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Trump problem is not about individual tweets but the steady narrative of anti-democratic lies.\r\n\r\nPlatform 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\u0026#039;t that hard. He should remain permanently banned.\r\n\r\nAmerican 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.\r\n\r\n\r\nWeissman has also expressed alarm about Musk—the richest person on the planet—striking a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.\r\n\r\n\u0022It\u0026#039;s less than great when billionaires own sports teams—which bind communities together—as their playthings,\u0022 he said last month. \u0022Having a billionaire own Twitter—a vital platform for communication and community—as his plaything is far more serious. It\u0026#039;s a real threat to democracy.\u0022\r\n\r\nThis post has been updated with comment from the ACLU and Jack Dorsey.