Estonian politician becomes a meme

Estonian Defense Minister Mart Laar said he deleted Facebook posts because the Internet is running out of space. It's a statement he won't soon forget.


Lorraine Murphy

Internet Culture

Published Jan 27, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 10:10 pm CDT

In his public life, Estonian Defense Minister Mart Laar is hailed as a hero of the post-Soviet era. On  the Internet, he’s a punchline.

Laar, the conservative former leader of Estonia and past winner of the Friedman Prize for Liberty from the Cato Institute, has been caught red-handed, if not red-faced, deleting comments about censorship and ACTA from his Facebook page. ACTA, you may remember, is the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. When questioned about the deletions, he deleted those questions as well.

At which point, he became an Estonian meme. This one translates as “I didn’t delete the internet. I ran out of space.”

Pinned down by questions at a weekly government press conference, he responded, “I don’t think that I have deleted everything from there. Last time I saw it there was a functional dispute going on. If there’s something missing then it’s probably because we were running out of space.”

Yes–he actually said his Facebook page was running out of space. And that’s when he became an international laughingstock.

To his credit, however, he later came out and admitted responsibility, if in a roundabout way. According to British website The Empire Chronicles, he stated that:

The administrators of his Facebook page worried about the ‘semantic space of Facebook’ and ‘somehow managed to delete the entire discussion, including my own comments. I gave them a good bollocking that hopefully they’ll remember for a long time.’

While his stance on ACTA is still unclear, he has obviously, if retroactively, come out in full support of transparency on Facebook.

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*First Published: Jan 27, 2012, 10:42 pm CST