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Merkel, Others Condemn Twitter Ban On Trump

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel considers U.S. President Donald Trump’s eviction from Twitter by the company “problematic,” her spokesman said Monday.

Twitter permanently suspended Trump from the microblogging platform on Friday, citing a “risk of further incitement of violence” in the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of the outgoing president.

Asked about Twitter’s decision, Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert said the operators of social media platforms “bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence.”

“The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance, and 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.

“From this point of view, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked.”

He said it’s right not to “stand back” when such content is posted, for example by flagging it.

“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” he told reporters in Berlin. “Seen from this angle, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the U.S. president have now been permanently blocked.”

Facebook on Thursday suspended Trump’s account through Jan. 20, the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and possibly indefinitely.

Merkel herself does not have a Twitter account, although Seibert does and many German government ministers do.

Others who have questioned the decision by big tech giants, Twitter and Facebook to suspend President Trump’s accounts are President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson and virulent Putin critic, Alexey Navalny.

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