France’s minister for digital affairs Cedric O is one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s earliest followers, and has been influential in shaping the president’s thinking on Big Tech as an advisor at the Elysee palace in the first two years of Macron’s presidency.
So far, Facebook has cooperated with French justice on matters related to terrorist attacks and violent acts by transferring the IP addresses and other identification data of suspected individuals to French judges who formally demanded it.
But after a meeting between Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, and O last week, the social media company has extended this cooperation to hate speech.
“This is huge news, it means that the judicial process will be able to run normally. It’s really very important, they’re only doing it for France”, said O.
O, who said he had been in close contact with Clegg over the last few days on the issue, said Facebook’s decision was the result of an ongoing conversation between the internet giant and the French administration.
French legal experts say that in terms of regulation it means that hate speech is no longer considered part of freedom of speech and is on the same level as terrorism. With Facebook on board other platforms should follow.