Conflans attack: “This tragedy proves that regulating social networks is necessary”

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His controversial online hate law was censored in June by the Constitutional Council. But while social networks are in the crosshairs after the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine attack, LREM deputy Laetitia Avia is working on writing new articles.

The Home Office believes that your law against online hatred, censored in June, would have prevented the broadcast of the video of a parent of a student who pointed out Samuel Paty to retribution. In what?

LAETITIA AVIA. A real fatwa was launched against this teacher, with a massive split. Then, after this abominable assassination, images circulated on the Internet. With this law, messages of cyberviolence and attacks on a religious basis could have been better moderated and withdrawn, because the text included a chapter on the functioning of the moderation of platforms and their cooperation with the authorities and the justice system.

Do you plan to put it back on the table?

Unfortunately, this tragedy proves that regulating social media is necessary. From the president’s speech on separatism at Les Mureaux, we resumed our work in order to find a mechanism that works. And this weekend, yes, there was an acceleration. In particular, I work on writing articles on moderation of hateful content and how to better identify its authors. They could be considered as part of a bill – but that would risk delaying things – or the separatism bill. (Editor’s note: presented to the Council of Ministers on December 9 ). We are also taking the fight to a European level with the Digital Services Act.

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The Constitutional Council considered by censoring your law that it risked infringing “the exercise of freedom of expression and communication which is not necessary, appropriate and proportionate”. What changes are you going to make?

I agree less on the principle of necessity because we have a pressing need to regulate the platforms. But I worked on the issue of proportionality, taking into account what the Constitutional Council said. Our freedom of expression is precious. It is a crest line that should allow everyone to express their ideas, but prevent us from being able to use social networks to undermine someone’s integrity.

What guarantee can you provide in terms of preserving freedom of expression?

The first text dealt with an obligation to remove content within 24 hours. It is too fast for the Constitutional Council, but other solutions can make it possible to better regulate the contents and to better process the reports. The platforms must provide the necessary resources, be diligent and responsible.

And the one hour deadline for the removal of “terrorist” or child pornographic content, also questioned?

This is a subject that is currently the subject of discussions at European level. The European Commission will propose a text in December which should include demanding measures for the platforms. This is what we encourage.

At the risk of granting censorship power to the platforms, as denounced by opponents of the text?

The platforms already have the power and the right to censor. They exercise it according to their own rules. The objective is to publish a common base of rules, under the control and supervision of the regulator, the CSA (Superior council of audio-visual).

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