By Jacqui McLean
After President Trump’s social media ban in January there was a whirlwind of responses. Across the world, opinions differed as to whether it was the correct approach or a complete infringement of democracy and civil liberty. Trump was temporarily or permanently banned from numerous platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon, Snapchat, Reddit, and more. Affected by the ban, are some of his closest advisors and family members. These include his son Donald Trump Jr and Micheal Flynn. Although the ban itself was considered legal, many groups, countries, and advocates disapproved. They saw the ban as an attempt to silence those that disagreed with them. After the ban was implemented, many conservative leaning groups turned to other platforms like Parler, which is marketed as a ‘free speech’ platform. However, Amazon and Google shut down Parler, who is now suing Amazon services.
Poland, a democratic republic and parliamentary republic, harshly criticized the ban against Trump. Polish officials viewed the ban as a blatant attack and an act of censorship. On January 12, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote in a Facebook post, “The censorship of freedom of speech, the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is returning today in the form of a new, commercial mechanism fighting against those who think differently.” In fact, the Trump ban was the impetus for Poland to rethink and propose changes in their own social media censorship laws. Additionally, Mexican government officials reacted similarly in their opposition to the ban. The Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador made clear he disapproves of any form of censorship, regardless of its legality. Germany and France also demonstrated their surprise about the ban. Junior Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune said, “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.” The regulations around social media are surely going to see global change in response to the recent actions in the United States.
Although many in the United States supported the removal of the former President Trump from social media, the global reaction was not as supportive.