France’s leader “very upset” by platforms’ muzzling of Trump

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron says he was “very upset” by the way social networks muzzled Donald Trump at the tail end of his U.S. presidency.

Speaking in a recorded video chat with scholars, Macron cited Trump’s example in arguing for more government regulation of social media platforms. The comments, which Macron made in English, were released Thursday by the Atlantic Council think tank.

“At the very second when they were sure” that he would not hold onto power, platforms that had previously “helped President Trump to be so efficient” in making himself heard “suddenly cut the mic and put the mic on mute and killed … all the platforms where it was possible for himself and his supporters to express themselves,” Macron said.

“It was a unique answer to deliver, but it’s not a democratic answer,” he said.

After years of being outlets for Trump during his presidency, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter silenced his accounts during his last days in power, after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a deadly insurrection on Jan. 6. Twitter permanently shut down Trump’s account, @realDonaldTrump, which had 89 million followers.

Macron said both the attack and the subsequent silencing of Trump’s accounts had been upsetting. He said more regulation of social networks is needed “to reestablish a public and democratic order in this new space where our people think, live.”

“I don’t want to live in a democracy where the key decisions and the decision to at the point of them cut your mic … is decided by a private player, a private social network,” the French leader said.

“I want it to be decided by a law voted by your representative or by a regulation, a governance, democratically discussed and approved by democratic leaders.”

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