Mexico's president singles out Twitter employee for past opposition party work




  • In US
  • 2021-01-20 21:25:20Z
  • By Reuters
 

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador singled out a local employee of Twitter on Wednesday and appeared to suggest his former connections to an opposition party could compromise the company's ability to be neutral.

Lopez Obrador has been critical of social media for banning former U.S. President Donald Trump, with whom he had good relations.

He chastised Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for shuttering Trump's account after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, calling it a "bad sign" that private companies could "censor" opinion.

In his daily morning conference on Wednesday, the Mexican leader projected onto a large screen the LinkedIn profile of Hugo Rodriguez Nicolat, who works on public policy for Twitter in Mexico, and highlighted his past work for the National Action Party (PAN).

"The director of Twitter in Mexico was a campaigner or sympathizer very close to PAN, the one who currently runs Twitter," Lopez Obrador said, using the wrong title. "(He) was even an advisor to a very famous PAN senator."

Lopez Obrador read out chunks of Rodriguez's LinkedIn profile, including his role in 2005 and 2006 as an international projects coordinator for PAN, which held power in Mexico from 2000 to 2012.

He added it was important to know the identities of people who work for companies such as Twitter because "neutrality is very difficult."

He also said he hoped for "professional" work, although it was not clear if he was referring to Twitter or Rodriguez specifically.

Twitter's Mexico office, without naming Lopez Obrador, said comments singling out a single employee were "unfortunate". It also said any decisions about compliance were made by a team.

"No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions, and it's unfortunate to see individual employees targeted for company decisions," Twitter Mexico said in a Tweet.

(Reporting by Angulo Sharay; Additional reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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