This is unexpectedly strange but it’s coming from the Associated Press so it’s certainly credible.

BERLIN (AP) — 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.”

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

But Seibert also said that the freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of “elementary significance.”

“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.”

Two glaring issues here:

  1. “Freedom of opinion” is one thing. Spreading blatant falsehoods about the election being stolen is another. Making accusations that elected officials have done illegal things, with no evidence to back up the claim, is another.
  2.  The “law intervening” or “legislation” is inapplicable here. Twitter is not a government-owned and regulated utility. Nor a corporation. It is a privately owned site and Jack Dorsey can ban anybody who doesn’t obey the rules.

I have to say, this is incredible that something this uninformed is coming out of Germany. My guess here is that somebody in the government made a comment without getting the facts, because this is just flat out wrong.

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  1. Twitter is not the government, it is a private company, so it can ban anyone not adhering to their published Terms.of Service.

    No one can convince me Angela Merkel doesn’t understand that concept.

    I expect a correction to be issued by the morning.

    • Europe has different laws (and nothing like the 1A), so they have more trouble understanding what our government can do vs what companies can do.

    • I am with you on that. This is just too ignorant, to say that legislation is involved — not the way social media is constructed in this country. I have no idea what it is in any other country.

  2. Apparently they do not understand that the government had nothing to do with trump being banned from twitter. Yes, every American has the right of free speech. But I do not have to listen to others free speech, nor do I have to pass it on or make sure others can hear (or see) it. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms are not government agencies, they are private businesses, and get to make their own rules. And when someone violates those rules, they are perfectly justified in banning that person. Sometimes free speech has consequences.

    I used to think repealing or modifying section 230 would be a bad thing, but now I think that repealing or modifying section 230 could go a long way towards these online platforms making sure that lies and misinformation are not spread on their platforms.

  3. The government isn’t regulating Trump’s access to social media. Social media site (privately owned, non-government entities) are doing the censoring. It took too long given the hate speech and calls to commit violence but seeing our Capitol occupied by invaders wanting to overthrow our government for the first time since the British did so in 1814 finally prompted a response from social media. As for Germany which like other EU countries has free speech ideals and protections THEY have limits. I might be wrong, but it’s my understanding that Trump’s promotion (“likes” on twitter and retweets) of a LOT of stuff would, since it is openly supportive of White Supremacy and even overt Nazi stuff would get him arrested in Germany! IOW their free speech doesn’t include allowing people to walk around wearing Nazi emblems or waving Nazi flags or saying Hitler was great. Or wear a t-shirt with 6MWNE on it.

  4. Um, can one then ask Chancellor Merkel why German laws BAN Nazi insignia and material from use in the country? It’s funny that she finds the ban “problematic” and yet Germany will NOT allow Holocaust deniers entry into the country for speaking engagements. Even the country’s far-right neo-Nazi parties are FORBIDDEN by law from actually using the swastika on their literature and party symbols.

    And, Germany’s ban on Nazi material (most other Western European countries have similar bans on Nazi material) also applies to foreign companies and organizations exporting material to Germany. The rock group KISS had to redesign the logo for promotion in Germany (the SS in the standard logo resembled the Nazi runic-styled SS emblem so for Germany and other countries with Nazi bans, the SS was redesigned to look more like ZZ backwards) and, if you look closely in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” you’ll note that the NAZI Red Skull doesn’t wear ANY Nazi insignia (even his uniform had to be slightly restyled, mainly to avoid running afoul of the various national Nazi bans if the film were released there).

    Maybe Chancellor Merkel would take this time to introduce some legislation to revoke Germany’s anti-Nazi laws since she feels so “concerned” at Twitter’s actions? I mean, a PRIVATE COMPANY choosing to enforce its own terms of service isn’t allowed to be more restrictive than a country’s government?

  5. It might be because many people don’t understand that “social” media involves private companies and is therefore much closer to something like Walmart. If you start a ruckus in Walmart, the security will ask you to leave. They could ask you never to come to their store again, in principle. The “social” media companies are basically banning this stuff because it is toxic to their business model.

    It was always a myth that this was to “bring people together”, etc. However, “Walmart” doesn’t sound so appealing, but the former does.

    It’s about time, but anyway …


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