The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is mounting a campaign against Big Tech’s political interference as global backlash against Silicon Valley over the censorship of President Donald Trump intensifies.
The Mexican president, a socialist, is emerging as one of Big Tech’s most vocal critics on the world stage following the mass-banning of President Trump from Twitter, Facebook, and most other mainstream tech platforms.
López Obrador said he intends to reach out to other governments to form a “common front” on the issue, and will raise the matter at the next G20 summit.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president vowed Thursday to lead an international effort to combat what he considers censorship by social media companies that have blocked or suspended the accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration is reaching out to other government to form a common front on the issue.
“I can tell you that at the first G20 meeting we have, I am going to make a proposal on this issue,” López Obrador said. “Yes, social media should not be used to incite violence and all that, but this cannot be used as a pretext to suspend freedom of expression.”
The chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, as well as ministers in the governments of France and Australia have also condemned Silicon Valley for censoring President Trump.
They join the governments of Poland and Hungary, both of which had made tech censorship a priority even before Trump’s bans.
Poland is set to introduce a law that would fine Silicon Valley companies millions of euros for censoring speech that is legal in the country.
The law would also create a Court for the Protection of Freedom of Speech where Polish citizens would be able to seek redress against censorious tech companies.
Manfred Weber, leader of the largest party bloc in the European Parliament, has also condemned big tech censorship.
“We cannot leave it to American Big Tech to decide how we can or cannot discuss online,” said Weber. “We need a stricter regulatory approach.”
We cannot leave it to American Big Tech to decide how we can or cannot discuss online. Todays mechanisms destroy the compromise searching and consensus building that are crucial in free and democratic societies. We need a stricter regulatory approach. #CapitolHill @POLITICOEurope https://t.co/ouJwTCT5B1
— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) January 11, 2021
Big Tech’s unprecedented crackdown has also led to condemnation from both the Russian government and the Russian opposition,
Russia on Thursday compared the decision of social media giants to suspend US President Donald Trump’s accounts to a “nuclear blast in cyber space” with the consequences hard to predict.
“The decision of US 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.
“It’s not the destruction that’s scary but the consequences,” she added.
“A blow has been dealt against democratic values proclaimed by the West.”