Social media companies have ushered in a new era of political violence in Western democracies, according to French President Emmanuel Macron, who says he will not drop his ire just because they silenced former President Donald Trump.
“Violence is resuming. Violence was progressively vanishing, and 99 now it’s resuming,” Macron said Thursday during an Atlantic Council dialogue in Paris. “My deep conviction is that social networks are definitely part of roots of this change… They legitimated, in a certain way, the lack of inhibition in the different speech.
They promoted the culture of tough words, of conflict and so on.” Twitter, Facebook, and other social media giants have faced criticisms from across the United States and European political spectrum in recent years, as Russian influence operations and their own ad hoc approach to managing the content on their platforms has exposed them to allegations of negligence and censorship.
Macron combined the two critiques, centered on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by some of the 45th president’s supporters, and signaled distaste for their apparent cynicism in their relationship with Trump.
“We are very upset here in Paris [about the Capitol attack],” Macron said. “But at the same time, we were very upset, as well, by the fact that a few hours later, all the platforms .. which helped President Trump to be so efficient, sometimes, to promote the same demonstrations, a few hours before, at the very second when they were sure that he was over, [out] of the power, suddenly cut the mic.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has proposed Western governments provide “more guidance and regulation” about “what discourse should be allowed” on their platforms. For Macron, the Capitol riot only intensified his impulse to write those rules.
( Washington Post)