Donald Trump’s censorship reignites debate on Internet policing

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How to police on the Net and to whom to entrust this regulatory mission? The question has been dividing since the tech giants took the initiative to kick Donald Trump off the web.

Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, Snapchat, Instagram have all suspended his account. Even e-commerce sites are getting started: Shopify has closed the Donald Trump brand merchandise stores. Chancellor Angela Merkel like many European politicians, especially French ones, find it rather worrying that a company has the power to obstruct freedom of expression. Yet these companies are within their rights in the United States, since the State has left them the keys to the house: it is up to them to clean up the content.

So far tech companies have taken this mission lightly

Indeed, even the American Democrats who are delighted to see Donald Trump deprived of his virtual megaphone point out that the Gafa could have acted sooner, because it is a long time since the tweeters Donald Trump exceeded the limits allowed within the framework of the democratic debate. Other critics, such as Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny, are surprised that the American president has been excluded but that those who send him death threats via social networks go unpunished. There are indeed double standards on the canvas. Social media has never had the slightest desire to delete accounts, for example, of authoritarian leaders. To ensure the moderation of content, they have recruited widely in recent years, and they have made efforts to limit the excesses of political advertising, but they have not shown a real desire to eliminate the content or the subscribers that make it prosper. their business.

Donald Trump and his 88 million subscribers are a source of revenue for Twitter.

Because they create a buzz, the dissemination of questionable comments is sometimes encouraged by in-house algorithms. The platforms acted after the Trumpist invasion of Capitol Hill, because democracy is in danger, and also because their own future is “in danger”. Dismantling procedures to break their monopoly were launched a few weeks ago against Facebook and against Google, the owner of YouTube, another fertile ground for the American far right. In the hot seat, these companies need to give proof of goodwill to the future Biden administration. The survival of these giants of Wall Street is however not really threatened because the procedure is very long and its outcome uncertain; on the other hand, they have a lot to lose if their legal immunity is ever called into question.

Unlike newspaper publishers, platforms cannot be sued for the content they broadcast

This is what provides for the famous section 230. It was developed in 1996 in the beginnings of the net, before the advent of hegemonic mastodons that have become the GAFA. Social media are not legally responsible for the contentious content they host. Donald Trump wanted to delete this section 230, Joe Biden is more vague on the question. In Europe, the draft directive on the digital market plans to sanction and remove problematic content. So there are tools available. Their implementation will undoubtedly damage the profits of tech without jeopardizing their existence, with the pandemic their social utility has been reinforced.

►In short

It is from today that French wines are subject to a surcharge when entering the American market.

The US Customs Service confirmed this yesterday. These additional 25% rights are sanctions authorized by the World Trade Organization in the context of the dispute between Boeing and Airbus. The two manufacturers accuse each other of benefiting from subsidies.

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