for Cédric O, the regulation of social networks should not be done in “urgency and emotion”

In 2019, 270,000 accounts were suspended by Twitter for incitement to hatred, and 5 million terrorism-related content has been deleted by Facebook since the start of 2020. Despite these efforts, content moderation is still carried out a posteriori, and this is not the only weak point in the management of content by platforms, because the management of online anonymity and the publication of personal data are also hot issues. Following the terrorist murder of Professor Samuel Paty, Prime Minister Jean Casteix targeted social networks, during a meeting with representatives of digital platforms, declaring that “it is because he was named by name by social networks that Samuel Paty was murdered ”.
For Cédric O, the Secretary of State in charge of the Digital Transition and Electronic Communications, an update of the regulations has been necessary for a long time, but it should not be done in “urgency and emotion”.

Online hatred, live broadcasting of terrorist acts and false information: social networks vectors of terrorism?

Social media speeds up the sharing of hateful content, and can also be used to promote racism, xenophobia, radicalization and terrorism. The Platform for Harmonization, Analysis, Cross-checking and Guidance of Reports (Pharos) has reported since its creation in 2009 over a million and a half alerts .
She had been seized about the Twitter account of the young Chechen who beheaded Friday, October 16, Samuel Paty, but this did not prevent the fatal outcome. Pharos does not have an emergency treatment mechanism. The national police consult the contents, verify their illegal nature and decide whether or not to transfer them to a competent service.

The law against online hate would not work

While some see the current situation as the ideal context to put back on the table and update the bill brought by the deputy Laetitia Avia to fight against online hatred, Cedric O, in a blog post explains that this law “would probably not have made it possible to avoid the tragedy”. According to cédric O, the remarks incriminating the professor, however revolting they may be, would probably not have been qualified as “manifestly illicit” and would therefore have escaped the obligation of moderation and withdrawal imposed by the text. The snowball would have been spotted only in the detection of murder calls, but it would probably have been too late to stop the hate online. The implementation of moderation mechanisms must, according to Cedric O, be up to the challenge they represent for society.
It would also be essential for all transparency to be made with regard to the public authorities as regards the principles governing in detail the choices made by the platforms’ moderation algorithms, whether it concerns online hatred or broadcasting. false information.

Data sharing, transparency and cooperation at the heart of European discussions on the Digital Services Act

The European Commission, for its part, is preparing an ambitious and strict bill with regard to the tech giants. This legal framework would renew the one dating from 2000, obsolete today. The new text expected by the end of the year is composed of “30 paragraphs of obligations and prohibitions” which the most powerful online platforms will not be able to escape. Cédric O recalls on his blog that these transparency obligations concerning the functioning of algorithms and the anticipation of the virality of the content are crucial. Cooperation obligations are also necessary to allow the judicial authorities to play their role of prosecution and sanction. According to him, these are pillars for the regulation of hate content.

A judicial system more in line with current uses is possible

According to Cédric O, our legal systems are today unsuited to the explosion in the use of platforms, which must manage the virality and massification of content. The nature of the Internet means that online anonymity cannot be regulated, and should not be the focus of any regulation. The Secretary of State in charge of Digital Transition and Electronic Communications plans to strengthen the Pharos platform and the introduction of the online complaint, announced by the Government and carried by Eric Dupont-Moretti, Keeper of the Seals and Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, as “essential progress for a better efficiency of the police-justice chain” to put an end to the feeling of impunity online.

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