Is it illegal to piss off Donald Trump?

Trump versus TwitterFight for freedom of expression

Regardless of the topic on which the US President wants to speak - Donald Trump almost always uses Twitter as a mouthpiece. Be it for attacks on political opponents, expressions of displeasure or praise for your own work.

But when he warned of alleged fraud in the US presidential elections and justified it with the fact that in the US state of California millions of ballots were sent to people who were not allowed to vote, Twitter had apparently crossed a limit. Trump's claim was tagged with a reference to fact-checking.

In the past, several media outlets have already examined the allegations and determined that they are false. So far, Trump has enjoyed a certain preferential treatment on Twitter, said the USA correspondent Thilo Kößler in the media magazine @mediasres, so the handling is not consistent.

Importance of freedom of expression

In this case, one can only speculate, says Kößler: "Perhaps it was simply the election-relevant assertion that postal votes increase the risk of electoral fraud. Perhaps, based on this specific example, it was just as simple as it could be conclusively to prove that this claim was unfounded . "

The dispute between Trump and Twitter is also about the fundamental question of how far-reaching freedom of expression is interpreted in the USA, it goes much further there than it does here, as Thilo Kößler explained: "Claims may be made that we have The most powerful messenger, namely Twitter, cannot be held accountable at all. "

Apparently, Trump now also wants to present new guidelines - and thus possibly realign his country's media policy. The US president threatened to regulate Twitter and other social media more strictly.

Law as a diversionary maneuver

The draft law is a diversionary maneuver because he is afraid he will not be re-elected in the fall, said Matthias Kettemann from the Hans Bredow Institute on Deutschlandfunk. "That is why he is now trying to open a new front here and act as the savior of freedom of expression."

According to the plans, the social media could be restricted in the decision whether and which content to delete, so Kettemann. Behind this is Trump's wish "that platforms simply no longer care about the content as long as it is not clearly illegal. That means all content that is not clearly criminal - much of what he writes is disinformation, but not yet clearly illegal - it should stay online. "

Reluctance on Facebook

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg stated in response to the dispute that Facebook should not be the arbiter of the truth. For Dlf correspondent Kößler, the question behind this is whether the social networks are only viewed as platforms or as editorial publications. Zuckerberg said, "I think that is no longer a very timely attitude in this debate."

Matthias Kettemann from the Hans Bredow Institute also assigns social media a responsibility and emphasizes that they can basically decide for themselves what is published: "Anyone who uses a private company must also submit to house rules." This also applies to the US president.