We Are Change
In a rare instance of a Left-wing Latin American leader siding with Trump, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has condemned controversial actions taken by major US social media platforms to block Trump messages. He’s long had warm relations with the US president even as other regional leaders have remained cold.
Recognizing the extreme dangers and abuse of big tech censorship for political speech, especially statements by elected government officials, Mexico’s president underscored that it’s an egregious violation and alarming precedent-setting severe abuse of power by Twitter and Facebook – both of which have blocked President Trump’s official accounts this week.
“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the the right to post a message on Twitter or Facebook. I don’t agree with that, I don’t accept that,” López Obrador said.
He further compared the extreme action to the infamous episode of the Inquisition in medieval Europe under the Catholic monarchs:
How can you censor someone: ‘Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful,’” López Obrador said in an extensive, unprompted discourse on the subject. “Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.”
He branded Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as “arrogant” in the comments. “I felt he was very self-important and very arrogant,” Lopez Obrador said.
He was also pressed by reporters as to his thoughts on Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol and brief occupation of Congress by pro-Trump supporters who were intent on blocking the election certification, to which he made no comment.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez reaffirmed the official condemnation of the social media giants’ actions saying in a follow-up Twitter message, “Facebook’s decision to silence the current leader of the United States calls for a debate on freedom of expression, the free exchange of information on the web, democracy and the role of the companies that administer (social) networks.”
The blockages of Trump’s accounts, which further includes Instagram, are expected to be in effect until at least after Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan.20.
López Obrador indicated he was not planning on traveling to D.C. to attend Biden’s inauguration, for which there’s also likely to be further mayhem – or at the very least on the peripheries of the event amid tightened security.