As the European elections approach and are a major democratic issue, the Twitter company has announced its refusal to broadcast the campaign «#YesYouthYou», which aims to encourage voters to register on the electoral lists for the election on 26th May. This decision is the result of a modification of the general conditions of use of Twitter. This modification, made on 1er last February, aimed at banning political communication in France from Twitter, on the grounds that Twitter would not be able to meet the transparency obligations imposed by the French legislator under the law of 22 December 2018 on the manipulation of information.
Invited today in Paris by Christophe Castaner in the framework of the meeting of G7 interior ministers, whose agenda will include the removal of online terrorist content, Twitter representatives were received this morning by Cedric O, Secretary of State for Digital. At the end of this interview, Twitter announced a modification of its general conditions of use, in order to allow advertising promoting electoral participation.
The Government welcomes this first step of Twitter, which shows the willingness to start a constructive approach on this subject. Nevertheless, the Government’s priority remains the implementation by Twitter and all the platforms concerned of the transparency obligations provided by the law on the manipulation of information. Several other platforms have already implemented these simple transparency obligations, demonstrating their technical feasibility. Some have even chosen to apply this rule of transparency to other States.
Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, recalls that the law on the manipulation of information of 22 December 2018 provides, for the largest platforms, an obligation of transparency for «sponsored» content during election period: in the three months preceding an election, when information is distributed for remuneration, the platform is required to indicate the identity of the person who paid for the promotion of that content and the amount paid.
The purpose of the law is in no way to prevent the platforms from distributing certain content but simply to allow users to be informed about the fact that these contents are the subject of a promotion for remuneration. During an election period, the ability of voters to make informed decisions is at stake.
The latest elections have shown that all democracies have to fight against infox. France has chosen to legislate in this area and not to rely on the goodwill of platforms.
The French Government is determined to continue its action for greater accountability of platforms in the fight against illicit content. This is what France is doing by supporting the adoption of European legislation for the rapid removal of terrorist content online, The Christchurch attack, the images of which were broadcast millions of times before being removed by the platforms. Laetitia Avia’s bill, aimed at combating hate speech, and the transposition of the SMA directive, allowing better regulation of video sharing platforms, will be the opportunity.