Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump
Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.
In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.
Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.
A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.
Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.
“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.
“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.
AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.
AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?
So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”
Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.
“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.
So what could a Mexican social media network be called?
The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.
The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)
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