During a gathering at Elysée Palace, Macron stated that these social media platforms could influence the youth and alter the way they perceive reality. Macron's remarks came on the heels of violent demonstrations across France, sparked by a police officer's fatal shooting of Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old delivery boy and a Muslim immigrant. These protests have reignited long-standing tensions between the youth and the police. (Related: RIOTS erupt across France as EU falls to migrant invasion.)
In the past week, rioters have targeted various public institutions, including schools, police stations, libraries, stores and even politicians. Despite calls for calm from Merzouk's grandmother and mother, the unrest shows no signs of abating.
An anonymous official from Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot's team clarified that the president merely stated the technical possibility of cutting social media access, without indicating that it was under active consideration. This statement is contrary to the news circulating online about the notice issued by the Directorate General of the National Police.
The official emphasized that nothing should be dismissed outright and that all options should be explored.
The government reportedly did not discuss the idea of cutting social media access with platform representatives during a recent meeting focused on content moderation and cooperation with the justice system. Barrot expressed satisfaction with the tech companies' responsiveness in removing problematic content, blocking accounts and assisting law enforcement agencies.
Government spokesman Olivier Véran addressed the issue during a press conference on July 5. He mentioned the potential for temporary suspensions of certain functionalities, specifically referring to geolocation, which enables users to share their locations and scenes. Snapchat's mapping tool was reportedly extensively used by rioters for coordination purposes.
Macron's suggestion of cutting off social media access during riots has faced criticism from different political factions and even his own allies. Leaders from the Socialists and Les Républicains compared his decision to authoritarian regimes like Iran, China and Russia, with MP Mathilde Panot from the left-wing France Unbowed tweeting, "OK Kim Jong Un."
Eric Bothorel, an MP from Macron's Renaissance Party specializing in tech policy, also expressed opposition to the idea. He argued that implementing such measures would mean giving up on the belief that democracy is stronger than the tools used against it, calling it a mistake.
France has previously supported United Nations resolutions condemning internet shutdowns by governments, including one in 2021 that opposed intentional and arbitrary disruption of online information access and dissemination.
In response to the recent riots, some French lawmakers have attempted to impose stricter regulations on social media platforms through votes on the country's tech bill, currently being discussed in parliament.
Senator Patrick Chaize from Les Républicains has advocated for online platforms to promptly remove violent content flagged by authorities within two hours during periods of civil unrest or social movements. While Chaize withdrew his amendment, he secured a commitment from the government to revise and present rules regarding social media use during riots at the National Assembly in the autumn.
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Watch this video as Macron claims parents, video games and the internet are the reasons for the ongoing riots in France.
This video is from the Puretrauma357 channel on Brighteon.com.