German Chancellor Angela Merkel is speaking out against Twitter’s ban of Donald Trump, calling it “problematic.”
Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, spoke of the chancellor’s thoughts to reporters in Berlin on Monday.
“The right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance. Given that, the chancellor considers it problematic that the president’s accounts have been permanently suspended.”
Seibert said that Twitter was right to flag the president’s false claims about the election, but banning the account was a step too far.
He added that governments, not private companies, should decide on any limitations to freedom of speech.
Merkel is often described as the leader of the European Union, and her apparent alignment with Trump on the Twitter matter is surprising. Merkel does not have a Twitter account herself, but has often clashed with Trump.
A few other European leaders voiced their disagreement with the ban, including U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock and EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, who said it raises key questions about the power of tech companies and the need for regulation.
“The fact that a CEO can pull the plug on POTUS’s loudspeaker without any checks and balances is perplexing,” Breton said in a Politico opinion piece. “It is not only confirmation of the power of these platforms, but it also displays deep weaknesses in the way our society is organized in the digital space.”