January 27, 2021

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Johnson urges social media ‘debate’ after Trump Twitter ban

2 min read
The UK prime minister is asked how 'comfortable' he is with social media giants' power.

LONDON — Boris Johnson joined EU leaders in questioning whether further regulation of social media companies might be needed following Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter.

While not directly commenting on the decision to permanently suspend the U.S. President from the platform, the U.K. prime minister said it was time for a “real debate” about the “status of the big internet companies.”

Speaking at a scrutiny session with senior MPs, Johnson was asked by foreign affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat whether he was “comfortable that a U.S. company controls how you communicate with your electorate” or whether he believed social media companies should be subject to similar regulation to newspapers and TV stations.

“I do think there’s a real debate now to be had about the status of the big internet companies and whether they should be identified as mere platforms or as publishers, because when you start editorializing then you’re in a different world,” Johnson said.

“It’s time we had a frank conversation about the boundaries that we want to be set,” he added, including “the role of these companies in what they choose to publish and what they choose not to publish.”

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Trump’s Twitter ban “problematic”, adding that any impingements on free speech needed to be “along the lines of the law and within the framework defined by the lawmakers. Not according to the decision of the management of social media platforms.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has also raised concerns, telling France Inter: “The regulation of the digital world cannot be done by the digital oligarchy.”

Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-urges-social-media-debate-after-trump-twitter-ban/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

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