France adopts tough law against online hate speech

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French lawmakers have adopted tough legislation against online hate speech. The bill, which obtained cross-party support, seeks to empower message writers and online platforms such as major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).

“What is not tolerated on the street must no longer be tolerated on the Internet,” said Laetitia Avia, a lawmaker for La République en marche.

The text requires digital platforms to delete within 24 hours messages that are “manifestly unlawful on grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability”. In the event of non-compliance, the regulator may impose an administrative penalty of a maximum of 4% of the turnover of “content accelerators”.

The French bill looks more punitive than the one passed in 2018 in Germany, under which authorities can impose fines of up to €50 million on websites that fail to remove hate speech promptly.

Source: Euractiv