SOCIAL NETWORKS: The decision of Twitter over the suspension of Donald Trump’s Account is “problematic”, says the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel
Following the incidents that occurred on January 6 in Washington, Donald Trump was banned from several social platforms. The outgoing president has indeed been held responsible for the incidents that led to the invasion of the seat of Congress, after calling out and urging his supporters to march on Capitol Hill to give Republicans “the kind of pride and daring they need to reclaim our country. ”
In the hours following the Capitol invasion, Twitter decided to block Donald Trump’s account for at least 12 hours for “serious and continuing violations of our policy of Civic Integrity.” A temporary ban which turned into a lifetime ban for the real estate mogul. “We have suspended the account indefinitely because of the risk of further incitement to violence,” the social network said.
Other social networks such as Facebook, Snapchat or even Twitch followed, removing Donald Trump’s account from their platform.
A decision that divides
While Twitter’s decision is praised by some, it is also criticized by others. According to some, social networks have been too lax towards the American President for too long and are therefore partly responsible for the incidents in Washington which resulted in the deaths of 5 people.
For others, it is not for the digital giants to decide who can express themselves on the Internet. Several Internet users have thus underlined the dangerousness of the fact that private companies can control freedom of expression in a certain way. Among those questioning the merits of Donald Trump’s ban on social media is German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“It is possible to interfere with freedom of expression, but according to the limits defined by the legislator, and not by the decision of a company management”, explained Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for the Chancellor, during of a press conference, adding: “This is why the Chancellor sees it as problematic that the American president’s accounts on social networks are closed permanently. ”
The German government has also underlined how “freedom of expression is a fundamental right of elementary importance”.
One step too far
Social networks have somehow overstepped their rights, because if they “have a very great responsibility” and “must not stand idly by” in the face of hateful or violent content, they must not take the place of lawmakers. It is up to the latter to “define a framework in which communication on social networks can take place,” said the German government through a spokesperson, reports AFP.
Angela Merkel is not the only politician to have spoken on this affair. European digital commissioner Thierry Breton also shared his perplexity regarding the decision “without legitimate and democratic control” of social networks. “These events demonstrate that we can no longer stand idly by and rely solely on the goodwill of the platforms,” he continued, “we must set the rules of the game and organize the information space with rights, clearly defined obligations and guarantees ”. “The regulation of digital giants cannot be done by the digital oligarchy itself,” commented French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire .