Hubert Aiwanger noticed ten years ago that there could be a catch with Twitter. In February 2012, the Free Voters chief deleted his profile on the platform after causing outrage there. At that time, Aiwanger spread jokes about blondes, Fritzchen jokes and supposedly funny pictures – “Drinking replaces yoga”, for example, could be read there. Nobody found it funny, instead criticism from fellow parliamentarians rained down. Aiwanger deleted the tweets, apologized for what the official statement said was a technical error by an employee and promised: “If this continues, I’ll turn off the crap.” Shortly thereafter, @AiwangerHubert was deactivated. It could have been the end of a brief Twitter career.
But in February 2016 he was back when: @HubertAiwanger. Blonde jokes can no longer be found on the account, but otherwise he does not seem to have drawn any further consequences from the Twitter debacle. He verbally harassed the policy of the federal government (“Are we in #Absurdistan?”), bickered in the comment column with critics about Winnetou (“Now that you’ve been screwed by the general public”) and prefers to share photos of herself. The News Page t-online recently accused Aiwanger of tweeting “Trump style”..
And then there was this matter that got him into real trouble last year: On the day of the federal election, while the vote was still being cast, he disseminated the results of an alleged voter survey and called for the election of his party. A democratic taboo that critics saw as attempted election manipulation and brought with it calls for Aiwanger’s resignation. As he had done ten years ago, he was forced to make an apology. But this time the Twitter account remained active – although Aiwanger was no longer just any opposition politician, but Minister of Economics and Deputy Prime Minister. The Federal Returning Officer had examined and rejected a fine procedure.
All of this could still leave its mark on @HubertAiwanger. Because if you compare the profile with other top politicians from Bavaria, it is noticeable that one little thing is missing: while Prime Minister Markus Söder, Green Party leader Katharina Schulze and even FDP man Martin Hagen have a blue tick next to their names, Aiwanger is empty. The tick symbolizes the authenticity of a known account to expose fake profiles. A forgery can be ruled out at Aiwanger – what is the reason for the missing tick?
Perhaps a look at the fine print will provide an answer. Twitter has a “guideline on the integrity of civic processes” that was published in October 2021, i.e. shortly after the federal elections: “It is not permitted to use Twitter services with the aim of manipulating elections or other civic processes or to affect.” The tick withdrawal as a punishment?
The minister announced on Thursday in a nutshell that there was “no reason” at all, Twitter left an SZ request unanswered. And if so: Even a blue tick would not tame @HubertAiwanger.