Date
15 December 2019
Cedric O, France’s minister for digital affairs, has made the fight against hate speech online a key priority through regular contacts with Facebook’s top executives. Photo: Reuters
Cedric O, France’s minister for digital affairs, has made the fight against hate speech online a key priority through regular contacts with Facebook’s top executives. Photo: Reuters

Facebook to give data on hate speech suspects to French courts

Facebook has agreed to hand over the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform to judges, Reuters reports, citing France’s minister for digital affairs Cedric O.

The decision by the social network giant comes after successive meetings between Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and French President Emmanuel Macron, who wants to take a leading role globally on the regulation of hate speech and the spread of false information online, the report said.

So far, Facebook has cooperated with French justice on matters related to terrorist attacks and violent acts by transferring the IP addresses and other identification data of suspected individuals to French judges who formally demanded it.

Following a meeting between Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, and O last week, the social media company has extended this cooperation to hate speech, according to the report..

“This is huge news, it means that the judicial process will be able to run normally,” O told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s really very important, they’re only doing it for France.”

Since his nomination as minister in March, O has made the fight against hate speech online a key priority through regular contacts with Facebook’s top executives, including founder Zuckerberg.

With Facebook’s latest move, France is now a clear frontrunner in the quest to regulate big social media outlets.

France’s parliament, where Macron’s ruling party has a comfortable majority, is debating legislation that would give the new regulator the power to fine tech companies up to 4 percent of their global revenue if they don’t do enough to remove hateful content from their network.

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CG/RC