Facebook faces hate speech crackdown from France
After Germany in January 2018, it is France’s turn to crack down on the growing number of hate speeches on the Internet. The National Assembly approved on Thursday a measure forcing web giants, such as Facebook or Google, to remove qualified “hateful” content from their platforms.
The purpose of this law? Force Facebook and all web giants to remove hate speech within 24 hours, not a minute more. This is part of a larger bill on Internet regulation. The type of content concerned is: hate speech or hate speech, violent speech or speech inciting violence, any discrimination based on racial or religious hatred, child pornography….France is not the first country to go to war against such speeches. Germany adopted a similar law on 1 January 2018, a year and a half ago, aimed at making platforms such as Google or Facebook more accountable and, above all, reducing the number of illegal content online. This is the same 24-hour period to remove these contents, beyond which a fine of up to €50 million could then apply to the platform concerned.
The result? According to Le Monde, who interviewed a researcher at Hamburg University Reem Ahmed, it is still too early to measure the effectiveness of such a law. “An assessment is to be made next year by the government. All we have at the moment are the company figures, which are hard to compare, making it difficult to reach any definitive conclusion,” she explains.
But if such a measure is taken in France, it makes one more government point out the problem of harassment and online hate speech. But is it really effective? Le Monde, again, explains that since 2018 in Germany “992,039 messages posted on one of these four platforms have been reported, mainly for insult, defamation or hate speech”. But how many have been deleted? According to a report on the law published in November for the Centre for European Policy Studies, “only 166,072 contents were removed in 2018 by the three companies, which means that more than 83% of the reported contents remained online”.
This raises a question: is the adoption of legislation against online hate speech really useful?
And what do you think of these measures taken by governments against hate on the Internet?