France Says Internet Platforms Could Be Fined for Racist Content

Gregory Viscusi

(Bloomberg) -- Internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter could be fined for not taking down racist or violent content fast enough under a law that France might propose later this year, Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi said on Thursday.

President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday night told the annual meeting of France’s largest Jewish organization that a law could be presented in May in response to a recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents.

“There will be an obligation for results: if the content is not taken down then there will be a fine, and a large fine,” Mahjoubi said on France Info radio. “Each minute that content remains online, it increases the harm to society. Twenty-four hours is far too long.”

Successive French governments have pressured Internet companies to better regulate their content ever since a series of terror attacks starting in 2015. The recent Yellow Vests protests have been largely organized online, with many postings linking to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and anti-vaccine messages, as well as incorrect reports about France ceding power to the United Nations, the European Union, and Germany.

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