Germany and France are shocked over Twitter's decision to permanently ban President Trump from the platform, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying through a spokesman that lawmakers should set rules governing free speech, not private technology companies.
"The chancellor sees the complete closing down of the account of an elected president as problematic," said chief spokesman Steffen Siebert during a Berlin press conference, according to Bloomberg. Siebert added that rights like freedom of speech "can be interfered with, but by law and within the framework defined by the legislature -- not according to a corporate decision."
Meanwhile, French leaders are similarly outraged - with Junior Minister for European Union Affairs, Clement Beaune, saying he was "shocked" that a private company made such an important decision.
"This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO," Beaune told Bloomberg TV in a Monday interview, adding "There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms."
Earlier, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, said that the state should be responsible for regulations, not "the digital oligarchy," adding that big tech is "one of the threats" to democracy.
Europe is increasingly pushing back against the growing influence of big technology companies. The EU is currently in the process of setting up regulation that could give the bloc power to split up platforms if they don’t comply with rules.
Twitter permanently banned Trump last week after it decided the outgoing president’s tweets breached its rules against gloriyfing violence. It cited his posts on the riots in the U.S. capital.
The move followed similar action by Facebook. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said Trump’s most recent posts showed he intended to use his remaining time in office to undermine a peaceful and lawful transition of power. -Bloomberg
And as journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out on Sunday, when competing companies such as Parler can be struck down by a big tech giant like Amazon, there really is no other way to describe it as a monopoly.
Far more violence has been planned on Facebook than on Parler, including at the Capitol & many other violent protests as well. Google-owned YouTube has long algorithmically promoted right-wing extremism.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 10, 2021
Now they're feigning offense to destroy Parler:https://t.co/7VdlNy8oGX