Macron sparks controversy with comments to curb social media access during riots

Macron’s remarks were criticised by political leaders, including his own allies, who likened them to authoritarian regimes.

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French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that cutting off access to social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok could be considered as an option to deal with out-of-control riots. He expressed concern about the influence of these networks on young people and emphasised the need to discuss potential bans and regulations when situations escalate. 

Macron’s remarks attracted criticism for resembling measures taken by authoritarian regimes. The recent riots in France, triggered by the killing of a 17-year-old of North African descent by a police officer, led Macron to blame social media platforms and video games for exacerbating tensions

However, the French government later downplayed Macron’s comments, stating that while technically possible, no concrete consideration was being given to cutting off social media. 

In a meeting with the platform’s representatives last week, the government highlighted the importance of content moderation, cooperation with the justice system, and the responsiveness of tech companies in removing harmful content. Macron’s remarks faced criticism from various political leaders, including his allies, who likened them to authoritarian regimes.

Some lawmakers in France have proposed tightening regulations on social media platforms in response to the riots.