By Eva Fu
Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump is “un-American” and parallels censorship under communist China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Jan. 9.
“Silencing speech is dangerous. It’s un-American. Sadly, this isn’t a new tactic of the Left. They’ve worked to silence opposing voices for years,” he wrote in a tweet.
“We cannot let them silence 75M Americans. This isn’t the CCP,” he added, referring to the Chinese Communist Party’s weaponization of technology and social media to monitor and suppress dissent.
Earlier, Twitter stated it has permanently removed Trump’s account from its platform, saying they have identified “risk of further incitement of violence” upon review of how his recent tweets “are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter.” Facebook similarly blocked Trump until at least Jan. 20.
In response to Twitter’s move, Trump condemned the tech giant, saying the company “has gone further and further in banning free speech.”
Trump vowed that he “will not be silenced.” He said his team has been negotiating with Twitter’s competitors and is looking into options to build their own platform.
Republican lawmakers and Trump allies have criticized Twitter’s actions as censorship and abuse of power.
“Big Tech’s purge, censorship [and] abuse of power is absurd [and] profoundly dangerous,” wrote Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Twitter.
“If you agree [with] Tech’s current biases (Iran, good; Trump, bad), ask yourself, what happens when you disagree?” he said. “Why should a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires have a monopoly on political speech?”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) voiced similar concerns.
“Even those who oppose Trump should see the danger of having a small [and] unelected group with the power to silence [and] erase anyone,” he said in a tweet. “And their actions will only stoke new grievances that will end up fueling the very thing they claim to be trying to prevent.”
Kate Ruane, senior legislative council for the progressive advocacy group American Civil Liberties Union, also put out a statement, saying Twitter’s decision “should concern everyone.”
“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions—especially when political realities make those decisions easier,” the statement read.
Besides Trump, Twitter also banned accounts of lawyer Sidney Powell and Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The waves of Twitter bans have prompted some users, including radio hosts Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, to make a voluntary exit.
Pompeo’s message rings a similar bell to that of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who also invoked the Chinese regime’s censorship of those it deemed enemies.
“Silencing people, not to mention the President of the U.S., is what happens in China not our country,” she wrote in a tweet.
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