German Chancellor, Angela Merkel Says Twitter Ban On President Trump Is ‘Problematic’
German chancellor Angela Merkel believes the decision by social media giants to permanently suspend Donald Trump’s accounts is ‘problematic’ saying freedom of opinion should not be determined by such online platform bosses, her spokesman said on Monday.
She opined lawmakers should set the rules governing free speech and not private technology companies.
Trump was permanently booted off Twitter on Friday because of the ‘risk of further incitement of violence‘ after his supporters stormed US Capitol while Congress was certifying his election defeat to Joe Biden.
Read Also: Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump’s Account
Merkel – a longstanding critic of Trump – said she was ‘furious and saddened‘ by the rampage, but her spokesman Steffen Seibert expressed that ‘the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked‘.
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert noted;
The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance, and this fundamental right can be interfered with, but through the law and within the framework defined by the legislature, not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms.
From this point of view, the Chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked.
He said that lies or incitement to violence were also “very problematic”, but that the path to dealing with them should be for the state to draw up a legal regulatory framework.
Completely blocking out views by halting the account is a step too far, the spokesman noted but added that he backed action taken by social media in recent months to flag false claims.
Merkel had said she was “furious and saddened” by the storming of the US Capitol by Trump’s supporters. She also accused Trump of stoking the unrest by refusing to concede election defeat to Joe Biden.
France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire also voiced doubts about Trump’s ban today, telling France Inter radio that it should not be for the ‘digital oligarchy‘ to regulate itself.
Echoing Merkel’s spokesman, Le Maire said that regulatory decisions should be taken by elected governments rather than by American corporate bosses.
Like several European countries, privacy-conscious Germany has also been at loggerheads with US tech firms over data protection and tax payments.
Merkel herself does not have a Twitter account, although Seibert does and many German government ministers do.