The German Government is concerned about the deteriorating freedoms of expression in the United States of America.

German chancellor Angela Merkel says Twitter’s ban on US president Donald Trump as “problematic”, her spokesperson said on Monday.

Freedom of speech was “a fundamental right of elementary significance”, Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert told journalists.

“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” Seibert added.

“Seen from this angle, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the US president have now been permanently blocked.”

The kind of law and frameworks regulating social media use referred to by Merkel are considerably stricter in Germany than the US, however.

Under the German “network enforcement act” online platforms face fines of up to €50m (£44m) if they do not remove “obviously illegal” hate speech and other postings within 24 hours of receiving a notification.

After the law was introduced in 2018, Facebook and Twitter fitted their German websites with additional features for flagging up controversial content, and trained moderators to cope with its requirements.