largeOn Monday, April 25, we learned that the board of directors of the social network Twitter had given its agreement in principle for the acquisition of the platform by Elon Musk for the amount of 44 billion dollars (approximately 41.9 billion euros). For several days now, we have been reading in the press and on the businessman’s Twitter profile that he would like to reform the social network, while promoting a “authoritarian” freedom of expression, without any obstacles.
Although the businessman clarified in a tweet on April 27, 2022 that “By freedom of expression I mean only that which is in accordance with the law”does not specify whether it specifically refers to the US Constitution or the laws of each of the states in which Twitter operates.
We are fundamentally committed to respecting freedom of expression, the foundation of democracy. If this freedom, as enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, which is incorporated into the French Constitution and derives from the spirit of the Enlightenment, allows citizens to express their views freely, provided only that they can be exercised with respect for the rights and dignity of others. Therefore, in French law, racism, anti-Semitism, but also hatred and sexism against LGBT people and anything that violates human dignity is not a matter of opinion, debate, but insult.
Prospective terrorists and conspirators
However, for several years now we have been seeing the resurgence and intensification of this type of speech, as well as the proliferation of digital raids aimed at harassing people because of their skin color, their religion, their gender or their sexual orientation. Prospective terrorists, conspirators, trolls and misinformation are multiplying in places that have become real weapons of war in the hands of those who, today, through influential operations or military attacks, are attacking our democracies.
The French legal framework and specifically our anti-racism laws from 1eee July 1972 and July 13, 1990, apply to all persons in the French territory, including Twitter users. Similarly, the Member States of the European Union, which are equally committed to freedom of expression and respect for individuals, have united to acquire a more global legislative arsenal.
In this respect, the Digital Services Regulation, the Digital Services Act (DSA), introduced by the European Commission on 15 December 2020, recently adopted by the European institutions, aims to strengthen social networks in the single Buy. It will apply to all social networks, including Twitter, regardless of Elon Musk’s stated desire to remove any restrictions on comments made on this platform.
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