Leaders from Germany, France, Mexico and many other countries have expressed concern about Trump’s online blocking.
While world leaders largely condemned the horrific scenes of chaos and uprising in Washington, D.C., last week, some spoke out against the decision by major social networks to block President Donald Trump from accessing their platforms for fear he would provoke more unrest before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Newsweek wrote.
Leaders and senior government officials around the world have expressed concern over Trump’s decision to remove Trump’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, among other things, after he instigated violence at the Capitol last week. Some have suggested that the move set a troubling precedent for free speech online, regardless of Trump’s inflammatory behavior.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most influential leader to express concern, perhaps surprising given her strained relationship with Trump and the gap in their political style and outlook.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday called the ban “problematic,” Politico reported. “The fundamental right [to freedom of expression] can be violated, but in accordance with the law and within the limits defined by lawmakers,” Seibert said. “Not according to the decision of the leadership of social media.”
Seibert added that the German government remains “convinced that social media operators have a very high level of responsibility … to ensure that political communication is not poisoned by hatred, lies and incitement to violence.”
Elsewhere in Europe, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter on Monday: “It shocks me that Twitter is closing its account. The digital oligarchy cannot regulate the digital world.” However, Le Maire added that he condemned Trump’s “lies.”