World leaders, even left-wing ACLU raise concern about Big Tech’s censorship purge
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January 12, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has raised concerns about Twitter and Facebook’s power of censorship after the tech giants banned the President of the United States from their platforms recently.
The Twitter blog announcing Trump’s ban stated: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
The ACLU is not worried about Trump or even about ordinary conservative voices being silenced. In fact, their national board of directors is calling for the impeachment of President Trump. However, the organization is worried about what it describes as Twitter’s “unchecked power.”
In response to Twitter’s censorship, Kate Ruane, ACLU senior legislative counsel said on Friday in a statement: “We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier.”
ACLU is not the lone voice objecting to the abuse of power by tech giants.
World leaders, including both opponents and supporters of Trump, have shared concerns about Big Tech controlling freedom of speech. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, yesterday described thesocial media bans of President Trump as “problematic.”
Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s spokesperson, explained that the German leader’s concern is about the impact that such decisions by Big Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter will have on fundamental rights.
“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,” Seibert said. "Seen from this angle, the Chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the U.S. president have now been permanently blocked."
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “arrogant” and compared Big Tech’s draconian move silencing Trump to the Inquisition. “It’s like a censorship court is being created, like the Holy Inquisition, for the management of public opinion,” he said.
“[W]hat about freedom and the right to information?” he asked. “We can’t allow one corporation that is the owner of Facebook, or of Twitter, decide who it can and who it can’t grant the possibility to communicate.”
Russian political dissident Alexey Navalny also posted a series of tweets criticizing Twitter's action. Navalny, who was allegedly poisoned by Vladimir Putin’s government and survived, called it “an unacceptable act of censorship...based on emotions and personal political preferences which could serve as a precedent to clamp down of freedom of speech elsewhere.”