Parliament chair calls on Twitter to prevent threatening messages

Parliament chair calls on Twitter  to prevent threatening messages

Parliament chairwoman Vera Bergkamp.

AMSTERDAM--The chairwoman of the Dutch Parliament’s Second Chamber on Wednesday called on Twitter to act to stop threats being broadcast on the social media platform against lawmakers in the Netherlands.

Parliament chair Vera Bergkamp made public a letter she sent to the US company’s Global Affairs Department expressing “deep concern” for recent tweets targeting members of parliament (MPs) that contained death threats “and calls for violence and even murder.” She tweeted that these threats “are probably punishable under Dutch criminal law.”

Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands’ anti-Islam Party for Freedom PVV, has been the frequent target of death threats on Twitter for more than a decade.

Billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter in October 2022 and quickly cut staff, including some responsible for content moderation, in favour of more automated systems.

Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” has said he bought Twitter to prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division.

“I understand Twitter works hard to minimise toxic and illegal content,” Bergkamp wrote. “Despite that, I urge you to take immediate action to address this issue … in order to protect our freedom of expression.”

Requests for comment by press agency Reuters sent to Twitter’s press email and the company’s Global Affairs account were not immediately answered.

Although she is not an MP, the Netherlands’ Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag of the centre-left D66 party has also been subjected to online and offline threats. Last week, Kaag indicated she may consider quitting politics as a result, sparking a national discussion.

The Daily Herald

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