Why was Germany’s AfD party suspended from Twitter?

The political party had tweeted criticism of the German government’s asylum policy and was forced to delete two posts

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

The conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party had access to its Twitter account revoked on Monday before being reinstated on Tuesday following an objection, according to information made available to the Junge Freiheit news outlet.

It is understood the political party was obligated to delete two posts published on Monday related to the German coalition government’s asylum policy, specifically regarding benefit payments handed to asylum seekers.

In the first post, the party wrote: “Our welfare state must not be a reason for asylum! Whether from Ukraine or Maghreb: benefits in kind instead of money!”

“Tough slip for the traffic lights at the start of the week: The Federal Council has stopped the citizens’ benefit,” the party wrote in the second deleted tweet. “So first of all, no all-round carefree package, from which immigrants would mostly benefit. Illegal migration must be contained and not gilded!” it added.

The AfD reportedly filed an objection to the deletion of the posts, according to Junge Freiheit. However, the party’s social media executives were unable to access the account until Tuesday afternoon when the party tweeted:

“Without notice, Twitter blocked our access to our profile last night. We are pleased that our objection was granted and that the ban was lifted.”

Speaking about the suspension, AfD’s national chairwoman, Alice Weidel, told Junge Freiheit: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental and human right. It is also an important building block of any democracy. It must not be the case that an opposition party is excluded from public discourse because of factual criticism of the government.”

AfD has over 183,000 followers on the platform, and its account is an important method of communication between the party and the German electorate.

It ranked as the fifth-largest political party in Germany in the 2021 federal elections, down from third in 2017, with a vote share of 10.3 percent.

The suspension comes at a time of supposedly great change at Twitter, following the platform’s acquisition by U.S. billionaire Elon Musk.

Musk has vowed that Twitter will be wrested back from the liberal mainstream to be a beacon of free speech, changing its trajectory vis-à-vis rival social media platforms such as Facebook that have become increasingly restrictive and politically partisan.

AfD, however, does not appear to enjoy the same right to freedom of expression awarded to others, and it isn’t just on Twitter where the political party has experienced difficulties.

In May this year, the video app TikTok blocked the official AfD channel, which had around 60,000 subscribers at the time, without offering any kind of explanation.

Remix News understands AfD’s predicament all too well, having been suspended on numerous occasions by TikTok ourselves for highlighting the social degradation occurring due to high levels of immigration in Sweden.

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