Macron greets Zuckerberg with Facebook threat

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to Paris with a warning about the company’s conduct.

The social media giant has been challenged in France over its perceived failure to tackle violent extremism, hate speech and disinformation across its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

Mr Macron met Mr Zuckerberg and the company’s new head of public policy, Sir Nick Clegg, who was formerly the UK deputy prime minister and head of the Liberal Democrat party.

Image: Sir Nick Clegg (L) and Mark Zuckerberg represented Facebook

The discussions followed a team of French experts and regulators spending weeks inside Facebook’s offices in Paris, Dublin and Barcelona.

According to Reuters, the 10 officials released a report just before the meeting which called for new laws allowing the government to address the harms posed by social media firms.


It follows the publication of a white paper in the UK which sets out how government could hold web giants responsible for their platforms.

The French government hopes the new laws would create a European model for managing the companies.

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According to an opinion piece written by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, the company needs to be broken up because Mr Zuckerberg’s “power is unprecedented and un-American”.

Mr Hughes said he felt “a sense of anger and responsibility” about the damage being caused by the platform.

Chris Hughes
Image: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has called for the company to be broken up

He described Facebook’s “sloppy privacy practices” and “slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news” as well as its “unbounded drive” to capture its user’s time and attention.

Facebook has stated it is attempting to address the problems which have been raised, and the regulators in France praised the company for its work to tackle dangerous content.

However they also criticised the firm for failing to provide them with enough information about its algorithms, which meant they were unable to assess how well they worked.

They warned this “lack of transparency… justifies an intervention of public authorities,” according to Reuters.

Just as suggested in the UK, the French recommended that Facebook and similar companies be bound by a legal duty of care to address harmful content on their platforms.

In a statement Facebook’s Richard Allan told Sky News: “This report from the French government reflects a deep and sophisticated understanding of the challenges in maintaining a ‘free, open and safe internet’.

“The report sets out a path towards a new model for content regulation that has the potential to be both effective and workable.

“It would allow platforms to develop innovative solutions to keep their users safe while being clearly accountable to a regulator for how well they do this.”


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