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.
“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.
Trump vowed that he “will not be silenced.” He said his team has been negotiating with Twitter’s competitors and is also looking into options to build a separate platform.
Republican lawmakers and Trump allies have criticized Twitter’s actions as censorship and abuse of power.
“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.
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 reads.
Twitter also has 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 strikes a similar tone to that of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who also invoked the Chinese regime’s censorship of those it deemed enemies.