Mexican senator proposes regulating Facebook, Twitter to protect ‘freedom of expression’

Mabel R. Acton

FILE PHOTO: 3D printed Facebook and Twitter logos are placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A prominent senator from Mexico’s ruling party has proposed regulating major social media networks, including Twitter and Facebook, to protect “freedom of expression”, according to a draft bill reviewed by Reuters on Monday.

The proposed amendment to the federal telecommunications law would grant the IFT, Mexico’s telecoms regulator, oversight in establishing a framework for the suspension and elimination of accounts on social networks.

The draft bill named Facebook, which is used by more than 90% of internet users in Mexico, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat as networks that would be covered by the reform aimed at “establishing the grounds and general principles of the protection of freedom of expression in social networks.”

Ricardo Monreal, who leads President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party in the upper house, proposed the legislation and is seeking public comment.

Lopez Obrador has been critical of social media, including Facebook’s decision to deactivate former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account.

In January, Lopez Obrador singled out a Twitter employee in Mexico, suggesting his former connections to an opposition party could compromise the company’s ability to be neutral.

Representatives for Facebook and Twitter declined to comment.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Richard Pullin & Simon Cameron-Moore

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