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World governments condemn tech-induced censorship of President Trump, plan to regulate

A "corporate decision" should not limit free speech, officials say.
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Michael McCormack, the acting Australian Prime Minister, accused Twitter of censorship for suspending Trump’s account permanently. He also compared the January 6 riots to the George Floyd riots that swept the world last year.

In an interview on Monday, McCormack, who is standing in for PM Scott Morrison, who is on leave, suggested that Twitter should not have permanently suspended Trump’s account.

“There’s been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship. But I’m not one who believes in that sort of censorship,” McCormack said, speaking to ABC Radio National on Monday.

At a press briefing later, McCormack doubled down on his criticism of Twitter.

“I say to the owners of Twitter that if you are going to take down the comments of [the person] who is still the American president, you need to think also about the photo, the doctored photo, the doctored image,” McCormack told reporters, referring to the faked photo posted by a Chinese government official of an Australian soldier holding a knife to an Afghani kid’s throat.

The Deputy PM also described the events that took place on Wednesday last week in the US Capitol as “unfortunate.”

“It is unfortunate that we have seen the events at Capitol Hill, that we’ve seen in recent days – similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year,” McCormack said.

Australia isn’t the only country to call out Twitter and Facebook for their banning of the US President – France and Germany have also weighed in.

Germany and France both attacked Big Tech platforms that banned President Trump, continuing their war against Big Tech.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel objected to the bans.

“The chancellor sees the complete closing down of the account of an elected president as problematic,” Steffen Seibert, her chief spokesman, said in a news conference, adding that rights such as the freedom of speech “can be interfered with, but by law and within the framework defined by the legislature, not according to a corporate decision.”

Merkel’s stance was also echoed by the French government. The Junior Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune expressed that he was “shocked” to see Big Tech’s actions over the last week.

“This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” he said on Bloomberg TV. “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called Big Tech giants, “the digital oligarchy,” and called Big Tech “one of the threats” to democracy.

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