Politics

Ruling political party of Slovenia, Freedom Movement, decided to leave Twitter

The leading political party of Slovenia, Freedom Movement, left Twitter saying they realized they didn’t need to use the platform when their account was locked. It also considers Twitter is too much used to deepen polarization and hate speech.

Robert Golob, prime minister of Slovenia
Robert Golob, prime minister of Slovenia and leader of Freedom Movement, speaking after the results of a national referendum held on November 27 | © Gibanje Svoboda, Facebook

The Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda), the ruling political party of Slovenia announced it stopped using Twitter considering they don’t need it.

In a statement released on November 26, the Freedom Movement, justified they “don’t even need Twitter to effectively address and inform citizens about the party’s activities.” It even argues it is the opposite.

The political party ruling the government of Slovenia considers that despite a relatively small user base in Slovenia, some abuse of the platform “to deepen polarization, spread fake news, manipulation, discredits, insults and even hate speech.”

Gibanje Svoboda is a social liberal and green party recently created which won its first parliamentary election it participated in on April 2022, taking 41 of the 90 seats of the National Assembly.

Although there is no public information about the market penetration of Twitter in Slovenia and the number of bots on the platform seems to be a mystery, data specialist Marko Plahuta estimates at 10,000 to 12,000 active Slovenian users per week. In a country of 2.1 million people, it would mean roughly one in 200 Slovenes are active on Twitter. It is far less than in the United States, where more than one in eight accounts are active daily for every American, according to Statista.

The decision is also related to the new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, who bought the company for 44 billions dollars. He has made drastic changes in the organization in little time and advocates for a complete freedom of speech on it.

The Freedom Movement expects this new radical policy “will further open the door to indecent communication and hate speech,” which they “do no want to participate in” because they “promised voters respectful dialogue and inclusive communication at all levels of society.”

Gibanje Svoboda actually said they realized they didn’t need Twitter while their account was locked for three weeks. According to the party, the issue with the account was due to a technical error. Twitter has recently faced a large downsizing of its staff and reported technical difficulties lately.

Janez Janša, an active Twitter user and the former nationalist conservative prime minister who lead the government during three terms before losing to the Freedom Movement, shared a tweet praising that Freedom Movement left the platform. He and his party, the Slovenian Democratic Party, consider mainstream Slovenian media is controlled by leftists.

The announcement was made a day before a national referendum initiated by the Slovenian Democratic Party asking voters whether the government should repeal three laws, suspended until the results. One of them was about the management of Slovenia state-owned broadcaster RTV. An amendment replaced the director general with a management board, and merged the programming council and supervisory board into a single financial committee controlled by the Audit Court. Members of the programming council and supervisory board used to be nominated by the National Assembly.

The ruling party considers the amendment brings more media freedom and independence to RTV with less political interference – RTV leadership was appointed with the Slovenian Democratic Party was in power – while the latter argued it removed the population’s representation voice.

The population voted in favor of keeping the law.

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