In the midst of a national crisis following the riots that rocked France after Nahel’s tragic death in Nanterre, a statement by President Emmanuel Macron could be hotly debated. According to BFM, the president suggested, during a meeting with several mayors, blocking access to certain social networks such as Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, with a view to limiting information sharing and preventing gatherings.
In the tumultuous context of the riots which affected France following the death of Nahel in Nanterre, President Emmanuel Macron reportedly raised the idea of blocking certain social networks such as Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, during a meeting with mayors. from different cities.
“We need to have a reflection on the use of social networks among the youngest. […] On the prohibitions that we must put. […] And when things get out of hand, you may have to put yourself in a position to regulate them or cut them off. Above all, you shouldn’t do it in a hurry, and I’m glad we didn’t have to do it.”
This statement is relayed by BFM. The underlying idea would be to block the sharing of information to avoid gatherings.
Efficiency, censorship and freedom of expression
However, this proposal raises several difficult issues. On the one hand, the real effectiveness of this measure. Social networks are certainly platforms where information circulates quickly, but they are far from being the only means of communication. Moreover, this approach could potentially reinforce tensions, by giving the impression of a desire for censorship or control of information.
On the other hand, it is a question of freedom of expression. The ability to freely share information and ideas is a fundamental right in a democracy. Even though this freedom is not absolute and can be restricted in extreme situations, such as the protection of public safety, Macron’s proposal could be seen as an attack on this right.
A critical look at social media
It is clear that the French government takes a critical look at social networks. Emmanuel Macron has already spoken about the potentially harmful impact of social networks and video games. He referred to countless videos circulating on TikTok and Snapchat in connection with the riots, thus heightening tensions.
Consequently, Emmanuel Macron called for a much firmer moderation of social networks, accused of not controlling the spread of violent content. He warned that users who incite violence and disorder will be identified. Snapchat and TikTok have been ordered to stop circulating violent content in connection with Nahel’s death.
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