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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Germany’s Merkel hits out at Twitter over ‘problematic’ Trump ban

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a protecting face masks as she leaves after talking to the media for her annual summer time press convention throughout the coronavirus pandemic on August 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

Anadolu Company | Anadolu Company | Getty Photos

LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel blasted Twitter’s choice to ban U.S. President Donald Trump.

“The best to freedom of opinion is of elementary significance,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, advised reporters in Berlin on Monday, in response to Reuters.

“On condition that, the chancellor considers it problematic that the president’s accounts have been completely suspended.”

Seibert mentioned that, whereas Twitter was proper to flag Trump’s inaccurate tweets concerning the 2020 U.S. election, banning his account altogether was a step too far.

Twitter was not instantly accessible for remark when contacted by CNBC.

Twitter made the transfer Friday, following outcry over a riot on Capitol Hill. The motion stripped the U.S. chief of his potential to speak on the social media platform that boosted his climb to the presidency and continued to play a key position throughout his time in workplace.

It got here after violence in Washington, D.C., that led to worldwide outcry and renewed requires Trump’s impeachment. The president had known as for his followers to protest Congress’ ceremonial affirmation of Joe Biden as president.

He additionally used his social media accounts to repeat false claims that his reelection was stolen earlier than being quickly blocked by each Fb and Twitter, after which subsequently banned indefinitely by each.

Merkel’s obvious alignment with the president towards the choice by Twitter to take away him comes as a shock. The German chief has typically clashed with Trump over time, whereas diplomatic relations between Washington and Berlin have been on the wane.

Merkel is commonly described because the de facto chief of the European Union. She stepped down as head of the conservative-leaning Christian Democratic Union celebration in 2018 and shall be changed as chancellor in Germany’s upcoming federal election later this yr.

However, Merkel wasn’t alone in criticizing tech giants over their elimination of Trump’s accounts. The transfer has drawn the ire of different political figures in Europe, together with U.Ok. Well being Secretary Matt Hancock and EU Commissioner for Inner Market Thierry Breton, who mentioned it raises key questions concerning the energy of tech firms and the necessity for regulation.

“The truth that a CEO can pull the plug on POTUS’s loudspeaker with none checks and balances is perplexing,” Breton mentioned in a Politico opinion piece. “It’s not solely affirmation of the facility of those platforms, however it additionally shows deep weaknesses in the best way our society is organized within the digital house.”

Europe and the U.S. have seen some divergence on digital coverage over the course of Trump’s presidency, significantly in the case of points like taxation. EU officers hope to enhance their alignment with the U.S. on regulation of the tech sector as Biden’s administration takes over subsequent week.

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