Amidst the turbulence and protests that have enveloped France following the shooting of a teenager named Nahel in a Paris suburb, President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments have fueled accusations of an authoritarian approach.
The president’s suggestion to “regulate or cut off” social media networks as a means to curb violence was met with criticism, as many drew parallels between such a move and the measures of regimes in China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea.
Following the shooting, rioting, and violence have been rampant in France. Macron has pointed the finger at social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok.
Speaking to a group of over 250 mayors whose towns were affected by the unrest, President Macron emphasized the need to contemplate how social media is used and whether regulatory measures or temporary suspensions should be considered when matters escalate.
Élysée Palace sources were quick to suggest that Macron was not hinting at a “general blackout” of social media.
According to these sources, Macron’s words were aimed at advocating for a deliberate and thoughtful debate on the role of social media networks in the recent upheaval. Macron himself emphasized the importance of having this discussion dispassionately and not in the frenzy of the moment.
Nevertheless, critics lambasted the French president’s remarks. Olivier Faure, the Socialist Party leader, posted on Twitter, “The country of the rights of man and citizens cannot align itself with those great democracies of China, Russia, and Iran.”
Similarly, Olivier Marleix of Les Républicains equated the idea of cutting social media to the methods employed by China, Iran, and North Korea, labeling it “in very bad taste.”
Fatima Ouassak, a co-founder of Front de Mères, which represents parents in working-class neighborhoods, accused the government of dodging the real issue. In her words, “Instead of debating the issue of police violence … we are diverting to the responsibility of the social media networks and parents.”
Following the turmoil, the government has requested social media platforms to swiftly remove content that incites violence and to unmask anonymous users who might be contravening the law.
Olivier Véran, a government spokesperson, underlined that anonymity does not protect one from legal repercussions. He also mentioned that modifications to social media, such as suspending certain functions, might be considered.
The post Macron Is Challenged Over Threats To Cut Off Social Media To Curb Riots appeared first on Reclaim The Net.