Trump may have permanently damaged democracy, says EU chief Von der Leyen

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Shweta Sharma
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
<p>European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she is alarmed by tech companies’ role in Capitol violence </p> (Getty)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she is alarmed by tech companies’ role in Capitol violence

(Getty)

European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said Donald Trump’s time in the White House as president may have permanently damaged democracy.

Ms von der Leyen said the concerns of the world leaders have moved away from US tariffs to the long term impact of Mr Trump’s presidency. She was speaking at the Davos Agenda summit on Tuesday.

“A year ago, my bilateral talks revolved primarily around the question: Would the US government impose punitive tariffs on European carmakers? Today, a year later, we are worrying about whether democracy itself might have been permanently damaged in the last four years,” Ms von der Leyen said during her virtual address.

She also raised concerns over the “immense power of the big digital companies” and said restrictions should be placed to protect institutions against “the corrosive power of hate speech, disinformation, fake news and incitement to violence.”

“We want the platforms to be transparent about how their algorithms work because we cannot accept that decisions that have a far-reaching impact on our democracy are taken by computer programmes alone.”

The head of the EU’s executive arm said she was alarmed at the role social media giants played during the violence at the Capitol on 6 January and Twitter’s decision to ban then-president Donald Trump’s account permanently. She said such serious “interference with freedom of expression” wasn’t for internet companies to decide alone.

“We want it clearly laid down that internet companies take responsibility for the manner in which they disseminate, promote and remove content,” Ms von der Leyen said in her address.

In December, the EU laid down a tough set of rules of new technology, targeting powerful tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and others with proposal threatening huge fines on these firms if in violation of anticompetitive behaviour or their failure to curb illegal content.

Under the proposal, the companies could face fines of up to six per cent of their turnover if they fail to tackle their content or share data with authorities on their strategies of moderating illegal content.

Ms von der Leyen earlier showed relief as Mr Trump’s time in White Houses ended with Joe Biden taking over as president of the US on 20 January, but warned that the world has changed during those four years.

Read More

EU urges US to draft joint rule book to rein in tech giants

EU urges US to draft joint rule book to rein in tech giants

Can Trump run again in 2024 election?

Russian media heaps praise on Donald Trump after his election win