Acting Australian Prime Minister Critical of Big Tech Trump Ban

Acting Australian Prime Minister Critical of Big Tech Trump Ban
Michael McCormack on Fe. 26, 2018. (Michael Masters/Getty Images)
Daniel Y. Teng

Australia’s Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has criticized social media giant Twitter for banning U.S. President Donald Trump from its platform.

McCormack told ABC radio on Monday that it was not up to Big Tech to decide whose voices were heard.

“I don’t believe in that sort of censorship,” the National Party leader said.

“There’s been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship,” he added.

In fact, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s controversial Twitter post, which sparked national and international outrage, is still pinned to the top of his feed.

The post featured a doctored image of an Australian soldier smiling and slitting the throat of a young child, the post was published at a sensitive time as the Australian Defence Force was investigating war crime allegations.

Twitter on Friday permanently removed Trump’s account claiming it violated its “Glorification of Violence Policy.” The move came soon after civil unrest unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it was “about time” social media companies banned Trump.

“It’s about time that people weren’t given a platform to spread hatred, to spread lies, which has had consequences for [other] people,” he told the ABC.

Social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have issued temporary bans on Trump.
Meanwhile, Google, Apple, and Amazon have suspended competing platform Parler from their services, accusing the app of not properly moderating the content of its users. Parler has attracted a large following of classical liberal and conservative-leaning users.

Parler CEO John Matze said there was a double standard at play.

“Twitter let ‘Hang Mike Pence’ trend the same day Parler was banned from Google … the double standard is obvious,” he told The Epoch Times.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has called for clearer rules to determine what content is acceptable on social media.

The ACCC has worked extensively to rein in the power of Google and Facebook in Australia, most notably it is implementing a code that will force both companies to pay news media publishers for content.

Queensland Member for Parliament George Christensen has started an online petition in response to the ban.

“We ask that, as a matter of urgency, you (Communications Minister Paul Fletcher) legislate to ensure Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms can no longer ban, censor, suspend, “fact-check” or shadow ban users for posting content which is lawful in Australia,” the petition read.

Daniel Y. Teng is based in Brisbane, Australia. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at [email protected].
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