German chancellor Merkel said freedom of opinion is of ‘elementary importance’
While many are rejoicing outgoing President Donald Trump being banned from most major social media platforms, German chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken up to say that she finds the unprecedented move to be more troubling than affirming.
Friday, Trump was permanently booted off Twitter because of the “risk of further incitement of violence” after a sect of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress was certifying his election defeat. But according to reports, Merkel, who has been a vocal critic of Trump, spoke up against the move.
Monday, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said that although she was “furious and saddened” by the siege, “the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked.”
“The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance,” he said. “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.”
Seibert concedes that while Merkel understands why tech giants red-flagged Trump’s tweets, she believes that banning his account altogether is taking things too far, noting that the social media executives “bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence.”
According to the Washington Post, Twitter’s decision to remove Trump’s account “precipitated a sharp drop in the company’s shares, which fell by more than 6 percent by midday Monday. Twitter also braced for a potential protest outside its San Francisco headquarters, a demonstration that the president’s supporters have sought to organize on pro-Trump forums in recent days.”
Amazon is now also facing a new lawsuit from Parler – an alternative social network that had become a haven for Trump’s backers- after Amazon Web Services suspended its relationship with Parler starting Monday, which essentially got it removed from the web.
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