Twitter: Macron had a “clear and sincere discussion” with Elon Musk on moderation

Emmanuel Macron and Elon Musk were welcomed on Friday to take turns moderating content on Twitter, while the businessman has so far made decisions that are more contrary to the advice of the French president and other leaders. of Europe.

“I’m talking about it here, on Twitter, because it’s about that. This afternoon, I met with Elon Musk and we had a clear and sincere discussion,” wrote Emmanuel Macron, during a state visit to the United States. The interview took place in New Orleans and lasted an hour. It has not been announced formerly of the Élysée, and distanced himself from the media.

“Clear terms of use, significant strengthening of content moderation and protection of freedom of expression: Twitter must strive to comply with European regulations,” the Head of State added in a series of tweets. .

He also said he discussed with the Tesla co-founder “future green industrial projects, such as the production of electric vehicles and batteries”.

“It’s an honor to see you again”, answered Elon Musk, saying he was “impatient” about the “exciting projects in France”. The richest man in the world bought the influential platform at the end of October for 44 billion dollars.

Its absolutist view of freedom of expression worries many users, authorities and advertisers, who fear a surge of hate and misinformation.

“Elon Musk confirms Twitter’s participation in the Christchurch Call. Terrorist and violent content has no place anywhere, ”detailed the French president, referring to an initiative launched by several states and NGOs in 2019, after the murders in Christchurch, New Zealand, whose images remained . accessible online for some time.

Musk has ended the fight against fake news on Covid

The businessman had no reaction at this point. At first, he promised a content moderation council responsible for all major decisions, but he finally decided to restore many accounts, starting with former US president Donald Trump, who were banned after the attack. of the Capitol in January 2021.

He also ended the fight against Covid-related misinformation, which is a “big problem”, according to Emmanuel Macron. “I think we have to tackle the subject head-on, I am in favor of the exact opposite, more regulation. We do it (in France, editor’s note) and we do it at the European level,” he said on Thursday in an interview with the ABC channel. Freedom of expression “implies responsibilities and limitations. You cannot go out and make racist or anti-Semitic remarks, this is a point that is important to me to defend,” he added.

This Wednesday, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, told Elon Musk that “there is still a lot of work to do”. Twitter needs to “significantly strengthen content moderation (…) and resolutely tackle misinformation,” he added, according to a report of their phone exchange.

Twitter’s new owner fired more than half of the California team’s employees, and content moderation teams were not spared. According to several NGOs, including the Center for Countering Digital Hate, racist, homophobic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic messages have “shockingly” increased on the platform in a month.

“Absolutely false,” Elon Musk tweeted in response to a New York Times article detailing the associations’ findings. He said the number of times tweets containing hate speech were seen by users was “continually decreasing”. The libertarian entrepreneur recently clarified his personal limits on free speech.

The account of the American rapper Kanye West was suspended for “inciting violence”, especially after the publication of admiring remarks for Hitler.

And Elon Musk is opposed to the return of Alex Jones, the far-right American conspiracy theorist who was convicted of claiming that the school massacre was just a staged show by anti-gunners.

Having experienced the death of his first child, the multi-billionaire explained that he “has no mercy for anyone who uses the death of children to (gain) financial, political or fame gains”.

Emmanuel Macron also ended his series of tweets by declaring: “We will work with Twitter to improve the protection of children online. Elon Musk confirmed this to me today. Let’s protect our children better online! »

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