Popular Green politician Robert Habeck tweeted on January 7 that he will delete his Twitter account. His decision is in response to criticism of one of his posts and the hacking of his private information via his social media accounts.
Habeck published an article titled “Bye bye, Twitter and Facebook”.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Habeck had received backlash for the wording used in a campaign video posted on Twitter ahead of this year’s Thuringia state elections in which he urged people to vote for his party. “We’re trying to do everything so that Thuringia becomes an open, free, liberal, democratic and ecological state,” he said in the video, prompting critics to question why Habeck did not already believe the state was free and democratic.
Habeck refuted the notion that he felt the eastern German state lacked these attributes. “Of course, I don’t,” he argued in the article announcing his departure from social media. Habeck explained that he did not mean Thuringia should “become” free and democratic, but that it should remain to be so.
Last October, in the wake of state elections in Bavaria, he faced similar criticism over the following tweet: “Finally, there is democracy again Bavaria”. He tweeted this after the Greens won the second-most votes in the southern German state.
In his article, Habeck blamed Twitter itself for the uproar: “It appears Twitter triggers something in me, I become more aggressive, louder, more polemic and to the point”.
No other digital platform is “so aggressive,” no other platform sees such “hatred, malice and agitation,” Habeck said, adding that it appeared Twitter was “rubbing off on me” and thus obscuring his usual style of politics. He added that he did not want to appear “arrogant, a know-it-all,” but to “see and take seriously the interests of the other side”.
According to DW, Habeck said he hopes he’ll be more focused without Twitter and Facebook, with an eye on “the long distance, not the short-term gain in ground”.