‘Not a new standard for diplomacy’: Danish PM on tweet to Trump

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen spoke on Thursday night about his reasons for sending a tweet about the US gun control debate.

'Not a new standard for diplomacy': Danish PM on tweet to Trump
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen sent a tweet with a few English errors. File photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix Denmark

The tweet, which was addressed to US President Donald Trump and contained a series of English spelling and grammar errors, has been called 'untimely' and 'embarrassing' by political commentators.

In the message, Rasmussen urged Trump to listen to calls for action over school shootings in the United States.

“I completely get that it was very unusual, but I think it was the father in me [that prompted the tweet, ed.]. I have three children, two of them have been in the USA, at high school and university respectively. I think I was affected by that,” he told newspaper Berlingske.

The message from the Danish PM came as the US president listened to pleas for gun reform on Wednesday in a White House meeting with about 40 students, teachers and family members of victims, including from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed on February 14th.

Digital political communication expert Benjamin Rud Elberth told news agency Ritzau on Thursday that Rasmussen's linguistic errors placed his tweet in the same category as many of the social media messages Trump himself receives so much criticism for.

“It's completely normal to use Twitter for diplomacy and to state one's position.

“But Løkke's tweet is a bit embarrassing, because there are spelling mistakes and verb agreement errors,” Elberth said.

“It seems as though Løkke is 'doing a Trump' – coming out impulsively with something that seems ill-considered and has spelling mistakes. That adds up to make the tweet seem comical,” he added.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen's error-strewn English is fine by us

Rasmussen admitted that he had chosen an 'untraditional' way for a prime minister to express his or her thoughts.

“And you can always discuss the political wisdom of it, but in the end, I'm sure Donald Trump can handle it. So it was really just a feeling I had,” he told Berlingske.

“This does not mean I'm setting a new standard for diplomacy, or that I'm going to hit a level of Twitter activity that matches that of the American president. It just reflects that I honestly felt moved,” he added.

Asked by the newspaper whether Trump had responded to his appeal, Rasmussen replied in the negative.

“No, and I'm sure he's not going to,” the PM said.

READ ALSO: 'Listen to America's young people': Danish PM to Trump

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Twitter appeals French court ruling on hate speech transparency

Twitter has appealed a French court decision that ordered it to give activists full access to all of its relevant documents on efforts to fight hate speech, lawyers and a judicial source said on Saturday.

Twitter appeals French court ruling on hate speech transparency
The Twitter logo is seen on a phone. Twitter has appealed a French court judgement requiring it to share documents with activist groups. Photo: Alastair Pike / AFP

In July, a French court ordered Twitter to grant six French anti-discrimination groups full access to all documents relating to the
company’s efforts to combat hate speech since May 2020. The ruling applied to Twitter’s global operation, not just France.

Twitter has appealed the decision and a hearing has been set for December 9, 2021, a judicial source told AFP, confirming information released by the groups’ lawyers.

Twitter and its lawyers declined to comment.

The July order said that Twitter must hand over “all administrative, contractual, technical or commercial documents” detailing the resources it has assigned to fight homophobic, racist and sexist discourse on the site, as well as the offence of “condoning crimes against humanity”.

It also said Twitter must reveal how many moderators it employs in France to examine posts flagged as hateful, and data on the posts they process.

READ ALSO: French court orders Twitter to change smallprint over ‘abusive’ methods

The July ruling gave the San Francisco-based company two months to comply. Twitter can ask for a suspension pending the appeal.

The six anti-discrimination groups had taken Twitter to court in France last year, accusing the US social media giant of “long-term and persistent” failures in blocking hateful comments from the site.

The groups campaign against homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism. Twitter’s hateful conduct policy bans users from promoting violence or threatening or attacking people based on their race, religion, gender identity or disability, among other forms of discrimination.

Like other social media giants it allows users to report posts they believe are hateful, and employs moderators to vet the content.

But anti-discrimination groups have long complained that holes in the policy allow hateful comments to stay online in many cases.