Thursday

28th May 2020

Macron vows law against fake news

  • Macron wants tougher social media rules (Photo: rawpixel.com)

French president Emmanuel Macron is seeking to give authorities powers to remove or block social media content deemed as fake news during election seasons.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday (3 January), Macron said the plan is needed to protect liberal democracies following Russian-led attempts to thwart his own presidential campaign last year.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"There will be increased transparency requirements for internet platforms regarding sponsored content, with the aim of making public the identity of those who place the ads and also limiting the amount of them," he said.

The proposal is part of an envisioned law to ban fake news, which would also empower a judge to remove content or block a site. France's media watchdog, the CSA, would also have sway over foreign-operated TV stations.

A UK-based firm, Bakamo, found in a survey published last year that one in four internet links shared by French users of social media in the lead-up to the elections was fake news. The links favoured anti-EU candidates like Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Bakamo also found that Russian state media giants like RT and Sputnik had been spreading and influencing some of the anti-EU content.

Marion Marechal-Le Pen, at the time, had shared a fake news story that claimed Macron's campaign was being part financed by Saudi Arabia. The link redirected the reader to an article designed to look legitimate, which was posted on a cloned copy of the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir.

EUobserver had also viewed 2,951 examples of Russian fake news, most of which was aimed at condoning Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, or its military forays into Syria.

Others included fake stories of rape or violence by migrants. Among the more egregious was the rape of a 13-year old Russian girl in Germany by migrants, which turned out to be entirely fabricated but was still reported as fact by Russian media and the Russian foreign ministry.

German law confuses satire with hate speech

Macron's anti-fake news plans follows a new German online hate speech law. Social media companies that fail to remove such posts in Germany within 24 hours could be fined €50 million.

But the German law, which was launched on 1 January, is already creating problems for confusing satire with hate speech.

Titantic, a German satirical magazine, had its Twitter account blocked on Wednesday after poking fun at Beatrix von Storch, a member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Von Storch had earlier in the week made disparaging remarks on Twitter about Muslims, which Titantic then mocked in a follow up Tweet.

The Association of German Journalists (DJV) described Titantic's blocked Twitter account as censorship.

EU Commission to target fake news

Mariya Gabriel, the EU digital economy commissioner, announces expert panel and says fake news can be tackled if people are given credible and diverse information.

Investigation

Sex and lies: Russia's EU news

France and Germany have been targeted for years with fake news and lies designed to incite sexual revulsion toward migrants and the politicians who gave them shelter.

Polish 'LGBTI-free zones' not OK, says EU commission

The European Commissioner for equality Helena Dalli has said the distribution of 'LGBTI-free zones' stickers or the adoption of anti-LGBTI resolutions cannot be allowed. Some 86 towns in Poland have so far declared themselves 'LGBTI-free zones'.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU Commission's €1.85trn recovery package - key points
  2. Why developing countries may be last to get the vaccine
  3. Budapest to EU: 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word'
  4. EU Commission's green recovery criticised as 'brown'
  5. Mix of loans and grants in Commission €750bn package
  6. EU recovery agreement deal may need 'personal' summit
  7. Little love, as Berlin bids 'auf Wiedersehen' to Trumpism
  8. Future of Europe Conference: Council urged to move now

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us