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Merkel Has Beef With Trump's Twitter Ban

Says freedom of opinion is a fundamental right
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2021 10:20 AM CST
Merkel: Trump's Twitter Eviction 'Problematic'
In this Dec. 30, 2020, file photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses after recording her annual New Year's speech at the chancellery in Berlin.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

(Newser) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel considers President 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 US Capitol by supporters of the outgoing president. Asked about Twitter's decision, Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said 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," reports the AP.

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"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." Facebook on Thursday suspended Trump's account through Jan. 20, the day of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, and possibly indefinitely. Merkel herself doesn't have a Twitter account, although Seibert does and many German government ministers do. (The AP has an obituary for Trump's Twitter account.)

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