Merkel says Donald Trump's Twitter ban is 'problematic'

Tuesday, January 12
Newsday and Agencies

German Chancellor Angela Merkel considers US President Donald Trump's suspension on  Twitter as "problematic."

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 US Capitol by supporters of the outgoing president.

Asked about Twitter's decision, Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that “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 US president have now been permanently blocked".

However, Mr 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.

Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, also voiced his concern about the violence in Washington last week.

In a blog post published on Sunday, he wrote: "What we saw on Wednesday was only the climax of very worrying developments happening globally in recent years. It must be a wake-up call for all democracy advocates".

"To fight delusion and attacks on democratic values, and to overcome divisions of our societies. Not only in the US. All over the world, there are political leaders – in opposition and also increasingly in power – ready to undermine democratic institutions".