Australia condemns ‘censorship’ of Trump, ‘uncomfortable’ with free speech limits

Australia’s acting Prime Minister has condemned Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend President Donald Trump’s account in the wake of the riots at the Capitol on the sixth.

Michael McCormack, who is standing in while Scott Morrison is on leave, described the President’s suspension as “censorship,” and called his refusal to concede defeat in the presidential election “unfortunate.”

“I don’t believe in that sort of censorship,” McCormack told ABC Radio on Monday.

“There have been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously who haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship.

“They’ve got a business to run and they’ve made that decision. That’s up to them and people will use that platform if they feel they need to.

“There are a lot of things said and done on Twitter that wouldn’t be said on other social media platforms.”

McCormack also compared the attack on the Capitol as being “similar” to last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, which had been sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also said he was “uncomfortable” with Trumps’ ban, but added that removing dangerous content from social media was a “fast-moving space.”

“Freedom of speech is fundamental to our society. As Voltaire said, I might not agree with what you say, but I defend your right to say it,” he said.

“Those decisions were taken by commercial companies, but personally I felt uncomfortable with what they did.

“When it comes to breaching of hate or very violent terrorist-related material on the internet, the government has taken action.”

Trump had initially received a 12-hour ban after the events in Washington DC on Wednesday, but Twitter has since decided to remove him permanantly.

The official Twitter Safety account wrote: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.

“Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.

“However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules and cannot use Twitter to incite violence. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”

President Trump speaking at Mount Rushmore, July 3 2020 photo/ screenshot of video coverage

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