German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that the decision by social media giants to permanently suspend Donald Trump’s accounts is problematic because freedom of opinion should not be determined by such online platform bosses, her spokesman said Monday.
“The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance, and this fundamental right can be interfered with, but through the law and within the framework defined by the legislature, not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms,” said Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert.
“From this point of view, the Chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have been permanently blocked.”
He said that lies or incitement to violence were also “very problematic”, but that the path to dealing with them should be for the state to draw up a legal regulatory framework.
Completely blocking out views by halting the account is a step too far, the spokesman said, but added that he backed action taken by social media in recent months to flag false claims.
Merkel had said she was “furious and saddened” by the storming of the US Capitol by Trump’s supporters.
She had also accused Trump of stoking the unrest by refusing to concede election defeat to Joe Biden.
Twitter on Friday shut down Trump’s account to prevent another attack on the Capitol building.