France Trouble For Google Inc (GOOGL) And Facebook Inc (FB)
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and other global technology companies would have to make some radical changes in the way they operate if France succeeds with its media control agenda. Francois Hollande, the president of France, is leading a conversation in the country that could lead to legislation that hold Internet companies responsible for the messages shared on their platforms.
The French president is also expected to travel to the U.S. to seek the support of the Web companies there on the issues of cracking down on the abuse of their platforms. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) are some of the companies targeted because of their online influence and ability to propagate messages far and wide.
Legislation to control social media
France is already moving ahead with its push to blame Internet companies for hosting hostile communications. The country is expected to make a draft of the legislation that would put the blame squarely on Web companies such as Google and Facebook if their platforms are used to promote violence, terrorism, or racism.
According to Hollande, Internet companies would no longer turn a blind eye to offenses on their platforms if they are held as accomplices of such crimes. France wants to sell the idea of controlling Web companies to the European peers and push it to the international level. Besides seeking to hold Internet companies responsible for the offenses committed on their platforms, France also wants room to impose sanctions on the companies.
The issues of controlling Internet companies could put Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) at a bind. Google operates the world’s largest Internet search engine that is used by billions of people. Facebook with its more than 1.32 billion active users is the world’s largest social media. Twitter only has about 284 million active users, but it has been the platform that extremists such as ISIS have used to promote their war propaganda.
Threat to media freedom
The recent massacre at the offices of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has seen France seeking to bolster its war on terror by trying to control the channels used to promote hate speech. However, efforts to control the media also fly in the face of freedom of expression, which was the rallying call by media organizations following the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
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