The recent Internet crackdown on free speech, which included kicking Trump off Twitter, did not pass unnoticed in the world.
The Revolver website has published an article entitled Foreign Leaders Are Now Condemning US Regime For Brutal Censorship of American Citizens [January 16, 2021]) It reports criticism of the tech crackdown in several countries:
GERMANY : "Despite Angela Merkel’s difficult relationship with President Trump, the German Chancellor made it clear that she is outraged over the decision by Twitter, Facebook, and Google to collectively banish the president from the Internet in the final week of his term."
MEXICO: "Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, better known as AMLO, was one of the first global leaders to trash tech monopolies for de-platforming the president. “How can you censor someone: ‘Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful,'” AMLO said during a long diatribe last week. “Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.” AMLO hasn’t stopped at just criticizing the decision, though. On Wednesday [January 13] , he proposed creating a Mexican national social media platform, to make sure Mexicans couldn’t be stripped of free speech by a foreign corporation..."
Revolver quotes from Mexico News Daily :
"Speaking at his regular news conference, AMLO, as the president is best known, instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.…'To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. [We want] a country without censorship. Mexico [must be] a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,' he said." [Mexico News Daily]
POLAND: "Alongside Mexico, Poland has also floated the idea of a major state response to the banning of Trump. Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki compared the treatment of the president to the suppression that occurred during Poland’s Communist era."
" 'Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently,' Morawiecki said."
"To fix the problem, Poland’s government has a plan almost as bold as Mexico’s. Instead of creating a Poland-only social media network, the government is drafting legislation that would ban tech companies from taking down material that does not violate Polish law. Facebook and Twitter would have to obey, or else be shut out of the country."
BRAZIL: "Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is routinely compared to Trump (including by Revolver), so it’s no surprise that he’s blasted the power of tech to silence leaders like himself."
"On Tuesday, Bolsonaro encouraged his supporters to follow him on Telegram, a competitor to Facebook-owned WhatsApp with very little moderation."
"The Friday before, Bolsonaro promoted the Parler app just a few hours before it was taken offline by a concerted big tech attack. Bolsonaro’s son, meanwhile, changed his profile photo on Twitter to an image of Trump to show solidarity, while declaring that Parler’s shutdown was an attack by the 'Big Tech cartel.' "
INDIA: "Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an ally of President Trump, hasn’t said much about the attack on the president, but statements by his allies have left little doubt what he likely believes."
"Tejasvi Surya is a member of the Indian parliament and leader of the the youth wing of the BJP, Modi’s party. Less than two hours after Trump’s permanent Twitter ban was announced, Surya stepped up to call for new regulations on the company to make sure the same could not happen in India."
"On January 8, Surya tweeted: 'This must be wake up call for all who don’t yet understand threat to our democracies by unregulated big tech companies. If they can do this to POTUS, they can do this to anyone. Sooner India reviews intermediaries regulations, better for our democracy.' "
AUSTRALIA: "Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, meanwhile, accused Twitter of hypocrisy for censoring the American President but not removing a tweet spread by a Chinese official showing a doctored image of an Australian soldier committing a war crime in Afghanistan. The loudest condemnation of all, though, came from Liberal Party backbencher George Christensen, who has pledged to introduce legislation to restrict what social media can block in Australia..."
FRANCE: "French President Emanuel Macron has not made a public statement on Trump’s de-platforming. But finance minister Bruno Le Maire has. Le Maire has clashed personally with Trump in the past, but said he was 'shocked' by what Twitter had done and warned that a 'digital oligarchy' was seizing powers reserved for citizens and elected governments."
NEW ZEALAND: "New Zealand maintains an official government post of privacy commissioner, whose role is to protect the personal information of New Zealanders. Sitting privacy commissioner John Edwards had one of the sharpest critiques of all of the big tech attack on President Trump and his supporters, and called for new regulations of social media to prevent it from ever happening again: The Twitter and Facebook bans are arbitrary, cynical, unprincipled and further evidence that regulation of social media platforms is urgently required. Much worse has been allowed, and is still present on both platforms than the precipitating posts." [Tweet, January 9]
CHINA: "China tends to avoid official comment on domestic political disputes in foreign countries, and the Trump banning was no exception. You won’t see random off-the-cuff remarks from Xi Jinping."
"Chinese state-run media, though, was another story. The Global Times was quick to ridicule House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for cheering on demonstrations in Hong Kong while summoning a massive military force to crack down on the Capitol riot."
RUSSIA: The article quoted the Moscow Times
"Russia on Thursday compared the decision of social media giants to suspend U.S. President Donald Trump’s accounts to a 'nuclear blast in cyber space' with the consequences hard to predict."
“ 'The decision of U.S. internet platforms to block the head of state can be compared to a nuclear blast in cyber space,' Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook....'A blow has been dealt against democratic values proclaimed by the West.'
And it quoted Russian dissident Alexey Navalny, who was recently poisoned but survived:
"This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: 'this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter'." [Navalny Tweet, January 9]