French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested shutting down social media platforms such as TikTok amid violent riots in the country, sparking widespread criticism from the public.
The proposal comes against the backdrop of violent demonstrations that erupted in the country following the police killing of a 17-year-old boy of North African descent. His death reignited longstanding accusations of brutality and racism within the French military.
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Macron made the comments during a meeting with more than 200 mayors of the target cities, saying platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Telegram were being abused by young people to incite violence in the country.
“We need to think about the use of these networks by young people…if things get out of hand, we may need to regulate or shut them down,” he said. Spoke to an audience at the Elysee Palace.
“I say this outright because it changes the way young people relate to reality… Above all, I am glad that in the current frenzy this shouldn’t have happened and there was no need to.” ‘, added President Macron.
He also reportedly suggested that parents of children involved in the riots be fined.
“For the first offense, we need to find a way to sanction the family economically and easily,” he said, according to Le Parisien.
Following his comments, people felt their rights were being violated and the country’s first citizens faced criticism. The comment drew criticism across political divisions, including from his own allies.
they say such a move will change France To authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, and North Korea that are tough on social media platforms.
Socialist Party leader Olivier Fauré tweeted: “This country, which defends the rights of man and its people, cannot ally with the great democracies of China, Russia and Iran.”
Olivier Marrex, a center-right republican, echoed the sentiment, stating, “Abolish social media? Like China, Iran, North Korea? Even if it’s a distraction, it’s a provocation.” It’s very bad taste.”
Another lawmaker from Macron’s Renaissance party, Eric Bossorelle, also spoke out against comments cracking down on social media.
“This means abandoning the idea that democracy is stronger than the means used against it. It would be a mistake,” he said. said in a tweet.
The remarks came after Macron called on social media platforms to take responsibility. He called for filtering sensitive posts, especially those showing violence and looting.
This was followed by a meeting between the French minister and the management of TikTok and Snapchat.
according to report Politico said lawmakers were trying to tighten the screws on social media platforms last week when the country’s tech bill was voted on. The proposal also includes social media platforms removing content reported by authorities within two hours.
But the government is trying to downplay the president’s controversial comments that it could shut down social media platforms.
— Elysee (@Elysee) July 5, 2023
“The president has not said that it is technically possible, but he is considering it. rice field.
Government spokesman Olivier Veran, who was asked about President Macron’s remarks, said at a press conference, “There is a possibility that functions such as geolocation, which allows users to see this and that scene in this and that place, will be temporarily suspended. there is,” he said. ”