French President Emmanuel Macron is facing criticism following his remarks about the potential blocking of social media networks in an effort to keep protesters from communicating and organizing.
Officials from Élysée Palace and government ministers responded on Wednesday, emphasizing that Macron’s intention was not a complete “general blackout” of social media but rather the “occasional and temporary” suspension of these platforms.
This comes as French officials have been pointing to social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok as being used by protesters to organize, leading to riots and violence.
This current and intense wave of protests were sparked by the fatal shooting of a teenager during a police traffic stop in a Paris suburb last week.
During a meeting with over 250 mayors from affected municipalities on Tuesday, Macron discussed the usage of social networks. He expressed the possibility of regulating or temporarily cutting off these platforms when situations escalate.
“I believe it’s a genuine debate that we must have in the calm light of day. Above all, we shouldn’t make hasty decisions, and I’m glad that we didn’t have to. However, this is an issue we must confront,” Macron stated in a video obtained by BFM television.
Following a ministerial meeting on Wednesday, government spokesperson Olivier Véran announced the establishment of a cross-party committee to examine potential modifications to the cybersecurity law currently under consideration in parliament.
Véran stressed that the government had strongly urged social media platforms to promptly remove any content inciting violence and to eliminate anonymity for those potentially engaging in illegal activities.