French President Emmanuel Macron has, in a recent statement, slammed Twitter and Facebook following arbitrary decisions taken by social media platforms to restrict freedom of speech. Emmanuel Macron highlighted the manner in which former US President Donald Trump was purged from the internet at a time when the censorship debate has become heated in India as well.
EMANNUEL MACRON : Twitter has become that 'unelected & privileged' member in all parliaments around the world. pic.twitter.com/j1Ul2yirvO— Chayan Chatterjee (@Satyanewshi) February 7, 2021
Macron said, “We are very upset here in Paris [about the Capitol attack]. But at the same time, we were very upset, as well, by the fact that a few hours later, all the platforms … which helped President Trump to be so efficient, sometimes, to promote the same demonstrations, a few hours before, at the very second when they were sure that he was over, [out] of the power, suddenly cut the mic.”
“I don’t want to live in a democracy where the key decisions and the decision to, at a point of time, to cut your mic … is decided by a private player, a private social network,” he continued. “I want it to be decided by a law voted [on] by your representative, or by a regulation — a governance democratically discussed and approved by democratic leaders.” The statements were made on the 4th of February.
The comments at a time when the Indian government is deeply unhappy with Twitter as well. The social media platform refused to remove tweets and accounts that falsely claimed that Prime Minister Modi was planning a ‘farmer genocide’ in order to incite communal disharmony right after the Republic Day riots in India.
The Indian Government requested the tweets and accounts to be blocked since it could lead to grave law and order situation in the country. However, Twitter claimed that it was ‘freedom of speech’. The duplicity of the social media platform and the threat it poses becomes evident given the fact that they indulge in censorship based on their political ideology which is not necessarily aligned to Indian interests.
Other leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador have also condemned the arbitrary censorship enforced by the social media platforms.