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France issues interim report on regulating Facebook and other social media

A report submitted to the French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, and titled “Creating a French framework to make social media platforms more accountable: Acting in France with a European vision”, recommends that French authorities should have more access to Facebook’s algorithms to audit its policies on hate speech. As France24 reports, it was published hours before Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and President Emmanuel Macron met on 10 May. “Macron, who commissioned the report has said he wants France to take a leading role in tech regulation, seeking to strike a balance between what he perceives as the US’s laissez-faire stance and China's iron grip on the internet. The Facebook chief said after the meeting with Macron that he was ‘encouraged’ and ‘optimistic’ about the regulatory framework being suggested by France for the social media giant and other online platforms.” The 33-page report, co-written by a former head of public affairs for Google France, recommends increasing oversight over the world's largest social media network and allowing an independent regulator to police the efforts of large tech companies to deal with hate speech. It calls for laws allowing the government to investigate and fine social networks that don’t take responsibility for the content that makes them money. “The report comes after Facebook allowed a team of French regulators to spend 6 months inside the company monitoring its policies. This represents a ‘half-time’ assessment from their time at the American giant, which started in January.” The report has regulatory recommendations based on five pillars: a public regulatory policy guaranteeing individual freedoms and platforms’ entrepreneurial freedom; a prescriptive regulation focusing on the accountability of social networks, implemented by an independent administrative authority and based on certain obligations for the platforms; informed political dialogue between the operators, the government, the legislature and civil society; an independent administrative authority, acting in partnership with other branches of the state, and open to civil society; and European cooperation, reinforcing EU member states’ capacity to act against global platforms and reducing the risks related to implementation in each country. Read more and see the report.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

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