Macron floats social media cuts during riots

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron told mayors on Tuesday that one option could be to cut off access to social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok when riots get out of control, according to footage of his speech seen by Politico. .

Macron said, “We need to think about the use of these networks by young people … and about the restrictions that need to be put in place. And I say this very clearly, because they are very different from the reality of young people.”; change the way we connect.” At a meeting at the Elysee Palace with some 250 mayors of cities targeted during the riots.

,And [we need to think about] The decisions we make, including administrative decisions, when things get out of control so that at some point we can say we are in a position to regulate or curtail them. It’s important not to do this in a huff, and I’m glad we didn’t have to, but this is a real debate that we need when things have calmed down,” he added.

french news channel BFMTV was the first to report over the president’s comments, which drew criticism for echoing steps taken by authoritarian regimes such as China and Iran.

The killing of a 17-year-old teenager of North African descent by a police officer last week sparked chaos in France, triggering violent protests across the country and rekindling long-standing tensions between youth and police. Those who have been accused of cruelty and racism. Discrimination. In the last week, rioters have swag stores, target schools, police stations, libraries and other public buildings.

Last week, Macron blamed for Social media platforms and video games are adding fuel to the fire.


On Wednesday, the French government tried to downplay Macron’s comments about potentially shutting down social media during the unrest.

A French official on Digital Minister Jean-Noel Barot’s team said, “The president said it is technically possible, but not that it is being considered. Nothing should be ruled out in principle.” ” publicly, told Politico.

The government did not discuss this option when the forums met on Friday to talk about content control and cooperation with the justice system during the turmoil, the official said. Barrott told senators Tuesday evening that the executive branch was satisfied with the tech companies’ response in removing content, blocking accounts and providing information to law enforcement.

Government spokesman Olivier Veran was asked about Macron’s comments during a news conference on Wednesday Said There may be a temporary “suspension of functionalities, such as geolocation, that allow users to locate themselves at such-and-such a place, to show such-and-such a view.” Snapchat had a mapping tool Allegedly Widely used by rioters to organize themselves.

Macron’s comments on possible social media cuts drew criticism from across the political class, including his own allies. leaders from socialists And this conservative party republican Contrasted with authoritarian regimes such as Iran, China and Russia. “Okay Kim Jong Un,” MP Mathilde Panot tweeted From the leftist France Unboed.

Eric Bothorel, a lawmaker from Macron’s Renaissance party who works on technology policy, also spoke against potential pressure. He tweeted, “It would mean abandoning the idea that democracy is stronger than the instruments used against it. That would be a mistake.”

The violence erupted last week after a 17-year-old boy named Nahel M was shot dead by the police. Christophe Simon/AFP via Getty Images

France has supported several UN resolutions condemning internet cuts by governments, including one in 2021 “Protests against using Internet shutdowns to intentionally and arbitrarily prevent or disrupt access or dissemination of information online.”

In the wake of the riots, some French lawmakers this week tried to crack down on social media platforms during a vote on France’s technology bill, which is currently being discussed in parliament.

Les Républiques’ Senator Patrick Chase has pushed for online platforms to remove violent content flagged by authorities within two hours when the country is plagued by riots or social movements. He agreed to withdraw his amendment but promised the government that rules for social media during the riots would be reworked and presented to the National Assembly in the autumn.

Ocean Herrero contributed reporting.