German parliament Twitter ban derided by MPs

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German parliament Twitter ban derided by MPs


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AFP/Getty

Image caption

Mr Schäuble does not use Twitter

German MPs have reacted indignantly to an attempt by the new speaker to restrict their use of social media during sessions in parliament.

Wolfgang Schäuble sent a letter to MPs telling them that electronic devices should not be used to tweet or send out news about what was going on in the chamber.

Frank Sitta of the Free Democrats party tweeted that it made no sense.

Germans can watch what goes on in parliament in live broadcasts, he said.

Mr Sitta asked whether he would be allowed to write handwritten letters, if he was not able to tweet about developments in the Bundestag (German parliament).

“So if you go outside it’s ok? Facebook and Instagram are allowed? A handwritten letter would be ok? It all makes no sense!” he said.

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Anke Domscheidt-Berg from the left-wing Die Linke party tweeted that she had heard about the Twitter ban on Twitter itself.

“The letter must still be on its way to me,” she joked.

Her parliamentary colleague Niema Movassat said transparency “should include the ability to comment on what is happening”.

Other MPs have told German media that they would ignore the ban.

Dorothee Bär from Mr Schäuble’s Christian Democrats told Funke Mediengruppe: “Social media, when used right, is the digital counterpart to the glass dome of our parliament building as symbol and means for transparency.”

Social media’s impact on the German political landscape has been more limited than in other countries, Deutsche Welle reported.

During September’s election, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party used social media more effectively than any other party, researchers found.

Nearly a third of all election-related tweets in the run-up to the vote contained hashtags associated with the AfD, the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found.

The AfD finished third in September’s vote, getting 92 seats in the new parliament.

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