Twitter's Donald Trump ban could lead to tougher social media regulation, says Hancock

TWITTER's decision to suspend Donald Trump's account could lead to tougher regulation of social media companies, ministers suggested yesterday.

Facebook and Instagram also blocked the outgoing US President’s accounts from their sites in the aftermath of last week’s storming of the US Capitol by his supporters.

Matt Hancock said the move showed they were now taking editorial decisions like newspapers and broadcasters and should be treated in the same way by regulators such as Ofcom.


The Cabinet minister oversaw plans to overhaul governance of social media platforms in his former role as Culture Secretary.

He told Sky News yesterday that the move “raises a very important question” about social media companies “taking editorial decisions”.

He said: "I think it raises a very important question, which is it means that the social media platforms are taking editorial decisions.

"And that is a very big question because then it raises questions about their editorial judgments and the way that they're regulated.

"It is obviously one for the Culture Secretary – but as a former culture secretary I can tell you that I think it does lead to very interesting questions about the role of social media and the role of the social media companies in the decisions, in the editorial decisions that they take."

Speaking later to the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Hancock said: "The scenes, clearly encouraged by President Trump – the scenes at the Capitol – were terrible – and I was very sad to see that because American democracy is such a proud thing.

"But there's something else that has changed, which is that social media platforms are making editorial decisions now.

"That's clear because they're choosing who should and shouldn't have a voice on their platform.

"Now I think we should just be straightforward about that. Now that has consequences and they're very much – as you say – for the Culture Department and not for me."

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