German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised the banning of the Twitter account of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, stating that she has concerns over freedom of expression.
At a press conference. the Chancellor’s spokesman Steffen Seibert stated that the German government leader found the social media giant’s move “problematic” while stating that social media companies nevertheless have a “high responsibility to ensure that political communication is not poisoned by hatred, by lies, by incitement to violence.”
Merkel’s spokesman went on to add that the Chancellor did not, however, believe that social media company management should be able to interfere with the right of freedom of expression, German tabloid Bild reports.
According to Seibert, companies should only intervene in freedom of expression “along the laws and within the framework defined by the legislature.”
“From this point of view, the Chancellor sees it as problematic that the accounts of the US President have now been permanently suspended,” Seibert said.
President Trump’s Twitter account was permanently banned on Friday just two days after protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol building after the U.S. leader held a rally near the Whitehouse in protest of the election results, which he has questioned as being fraudulent.
‘Capitol Hill is the 9/11 Moment of Social Media’ — EU Commissioner Calls for Govt Control of the Internet https://t.co/9pm19NqE8P
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 11, 2021
Several other accounts belonging to the Trump campaign were also banned by the social media company and the official account of the President of the United States @POTUS was also restricted and had Tweets deleted by Twitter after President Trump attempted to use it to communicate with supporters.
Chancellor Merkel’s critical comments join those of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who slammed Twitter, Facebook and others for de-platforming the U.S. leader.
“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the right to post a message on Twitter or Face(book). I don’t agree with that, I don’t accept that,” López Obrador said.
“How can you censor someone: ‘Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful,” he said and added, “Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.”
European Commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton, meanwhile, called the Capitol riot incident the “9/11 moment of social media” and called for regulation of speech online by governments.
“Regardless of whether silencing a standing president was the right thing to do, should that decision be in the hands of a tech company with no democratic legitimacy or oversight?” he said.
‘Freedom of Expression Has Its Limits!’ – Merkel Rails Against Free Speech https://t.co/BAoBtdlCIh
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 1, 2019