European leaders shocked and outraged over Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Trump
European leaders expressed their shocks and outrage on Monday that a private technology company has the power to permanently ban a sitting world leader from its platform. Germany and France said they are shocked over Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Trump.
Leaders of the two countries attacked Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. after U.S. President Donald Trump was shut off and banned from the social media platforms, in an extension of Europe’s battle with big tech, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Speaking through a spokesperson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that lawmakers should set rules governing free speech, not private technology companies.
“The chancellor sees the complete closing down of the account of an elected president as problematic,” said chief spokesman Steffen Siebert during a Berlin press conference, according to Bloomberg. Siebert added that rights like freedom of speech “can be interfered with, but by law and within the framework defined by the legislature — not according to a corporate decision.”
French leaders are equally outraged – with Junior Minister for European Union Affairs, Clement Beaune, saying he was “shocked” that a private company made such an important decision.
“This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” Beaune told Bloomberg TV in a Monday interview, adding “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, said that the state should be responsible for regulations, not “the digital oligarchy,” adding that big tech is “one of the threats” to democracy.
It all started on January 6, with just a couple of days left in his presidency, that Twitter decided to lock the account of President Trump 12 hours following the storming of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
Then last Friday, Twitter said has permanently suspended the personal account of President Donald Trump. In a statement, Twitter said
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter posted Friday.
Before his account was deleted, President Trump had more than 88 million followers and had been retweeted billions of times. Other social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram have been quick to issue similar bans on the outgoing president last week after the violence at Capitol Hill.