‘Problematic’: German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticizes Twitter for booting Trump
Twitter permanently deleted Trump’s account from its social media platform on January 8, no longer allowing the president to reach his 88 million followers. Twitter cited as its reason the “risk of further incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building.
According to Merkel, as related through spokesman Steffen Seibert at a news conference in Berlin, Big Tech executives "bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence," adding however, that the right to express one's own opinion is 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," Merkel added through her spokesman.
"Seen from this angle, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the U.S. president have now been permanently blocked," the spokesman said.
Merkel’s criticism is also shared by the French government. Junior Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune told Bloomberg on Monday that he was “shocked” to see a private company silences the American president.
“This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” Beaune said, adding: “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”
A number of prominent conservatives are expressing outrage over Twitter permanently suspending President Donald Trump’s account last week by voluntarily abandoning the social media platform. Some of these include Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, Fox host and conservative commentator Mark Levin, and Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.
Shares of Twitter dropped 12 percent after the market opened on Monday. Twitter shares reached a low of $45.17 compared to $51.48 on Jan. 8. The social media company has lost $5 billion in market value.
A screen grab of Trump’s last tweets is available below.