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Mexican president compares social media censorship in U.S. to Spanish Inquisition

Safety concerns "cannot be used as a pretext to suspend freedom of expression," argued Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Updated: January 17, 2021 - 7:19am

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The president of Mexico is intending to make a "proposal" on the subject of social media censorship, with the head of state criticizing what he said was overreach on the part of tech companies in the wake of cross-platform bans on U.S. President Donald Trump.

In a daily briefing on Thursday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed that "at the [next] G-20 meeting we have, I am going to make a proposal on this issue."

"Yes, social media should not be used to incite violence and all that, but this cannot be used as a pretext to suspend freedom of expression," Obrador said, adding: "How can a company act as if it was all powerful, omnipotent, as a sort of Spanish Inquisition on what is expressed?"

Obador is not the first world leader to speak out against social media's recent censorship decisions. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said earlier this week that "algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not."

Referring to social media bans on President Trump, meanwhile, a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week said the chancellor "sees the complete closing down of the account of an elected president as problematic."

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