Twitter removed a tweet from former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad for glorifying violence but France’s digital minister demanded the company also ban him from its platform.
Cedric O said he told the managing director of Twitter in France that Mahathir’s account “must be immediately suspended,” O tweeted on Thursday. “If not, @twitter would be an accomplice to a formal call for murder.”
Mahathir, 95 and a former Malaysian prime minister, appeared to say the deaths of French people would be justified, in the wake of attacks that French authorities attributed to Muslim extremists.
“Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of people for the massacres of the past,” he said Thursday, in a series of tweets that began with his thoughts on the beheading of a middle school teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad for a class on free speech.
Twitter at first put a label on the tweet saying it glorified violence but left it up because it “may be in the public’s interest.”
The tweet was later removed and replaced with a tag saying it broke the rules. The company said it took action for violating its policy on glorification of violence, which doesn’t allow threats against individuals or a group of people.
Mahathir was twice prime minister, and his second stint lasted from 2018 until he quit in February 2020. He has been viewed as an advocate of moderate Islamic views and a spokesman for the interests of developing countries. But at the same time, he pointedly criticized Western society and nations and their relationships to the Muslim world.