Despite a moderate economic recovery, President Emmanuel Macron’s government continues to flounder in unpopularity. A recent poll found only 1 in 4 people had a positive view of the French president and his government, while 66% had an outright negative view. Every regime under siege has a choice: improve its performance and unify the country or . . . crack down on critical opposition. The Macron regime has decidedly opted for the latter, proposing yet another law to destroy that pesky last bastion of free speech in France: the Internet.
The person charged with drafting this new legislation is Laetitia Avia, an MP of Togolese descent, with the support of Parliamentary Undersecretary for Digital Economy Cédric O [sic], a Franco-Korean. The law will require social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to provide “a single alert button, common to all big platform operators” for users to report “cyber-hate” (presumably more visible and uniform than what exists already).
More seriously, tech companies will be liable to massive fines if they do not immediately remove content which might be considered “hateful.” If a platform does not remove such content within 24 hours of notification, it could be fined by the French High Council for Audiovisual (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) to the tune of 4% of their global annual turnover. For Twitter for example, this would mean fines of up to a whopping $120 billion. Social media are also expected by the French government to artificially suppress the diffusion of hateful content, by limiting their “virality.”
This renewed push for censorship comes at a time when anti-Zionist critics like the civic nationalist Alain Soral and the comedian Dieudonné are being threatened with years of imprisonment under existing censorship legislation.
Avia defines “cyber-hate” as “any content that is manifestly an incitement to hatred or a discriminatory insult on grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or disability.” But free speech watchdogs have already pointed out that French law is notoriously vague as to what constitutes “hate.” Judges have had to improvise the concept as we have gone along. The combination of the scale of the fine and the swiftness of expected response may mean a devastating chilling effect against free speech: tech operators will have a massive incentive to auto-ban any and all content which might conceivably be considered “hateful” by a CSA bureaucrat or some litigious ethnic lobby. Needless to say, much legitimate content would also be banned.
Read the rest here: http://www.unz.com/gdurocher/dark-days-in-france/