German governor quits Twitter, Scholz still mulling options

Dec 4, 2022, 3:29 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2022, 5:30 am

BERLIN (AP) — The governor of Germany’s state of Lower Saxony said Monday he is quitting Twitter because the microblogging site is increasingly being used to spread “hatred and incitement.”

Experts have warned of a rise in anti-semitic vitriol if Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended accounts. A top European Union official urged Musk last week to step up the site’s policing of illegal content or risk being banned in the 27-nation bloc.

While some ordinary users have already quit Twitter, officials have hesitated to do so because the site plays a prominent role in the political conversation in many countries.

Governor Stephan Weil of Lower Saxony, a state of about 8 million inhabitants in the north of Germany, said his account would be deleted in the course of Tuesday.

“The lack of controls and insufficient verification are increasingly leading to the spread of hate and incitement, misinformation and conspiracy theories,” Weil wrote in his final tweet. “I don’t need to be part of that.”

The state government’s Twitter account will also be deleted, German news agency dpa reported.

A spokesman for Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the federal government was still considering its options.

Asked about Weil’s decision, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin that the government was “looking very closely” at the impact of Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

“We’re still looking at how it develops,” he said. “And generally speaking, we will collectively consider whether we’re going to continue taking part in this network or not.”

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German governor quits Twitter, Scholz still mulling options