A surprising meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Elon Musk
Posted on December 3, 2022 at 8:57 amUpdated December 3, 2022 at 9:13 am
Emmanuel Macron visited New Orleans, a symbol of historic Franco-American ties, on Friday to celebrate Francophonie and meet with… Elon Musk. The interview was previously unannounced by Yelysey and kept away from the media.
Emmanuel Macron and Elon Musk were happy to exchange views on content moderation on Twitter, with the entrepreneur taking decisions that have so far gone against the advice of the French president and other European leaders.
I’m talking about it here on Twitter because that’s what it’s all about. I met this afternoon @elonmusk and we had a clear and frank discussion:
—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 3, 2022
“It was an honor to see you again,” Elon Musk said, adding that he was “looking forward” to “exciting projects in France.”
The world’s richest man bought Twitter at the end of October for $44 billion. His absolutist view of freedom of expression worries many users, authorities and advertisers who fear the rise of hate and misinformation. “Elon Musk Confirms Twitter Participation in Christchurch Call. “Terrorist and violent content has no place anywhere,” the French president detailed, referring to the initiative launched by several states and NGOs after the killings in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019. It became available online within hours.
The businessman did not react to this point. He initially promised a content moderation board responsible for all major decisions, but he himself eventually decided to reinstate many accounts, starting with former US President Donald Trump, who was banned after the January 2021 attack on the Capitol.
Responsibilities and limitations
It also, according to Emmanuel Macron, “put an end to the fight against disinformation related to Covid, which is a huge problem. “I think we should solve this issue head-on, I am in favor of more regulation, on the contrary. We do it (in France, editor’s note) and we do it at the European level,” he said during an interview with ABC on Thursday.
Freedom of expression “implies responsibilities and limitations. “You can’t go out and make racist or anti-Semitic statements, that’s a point that’s important to me to defend,” he added.
Already on Wednesday, the European commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, told Elon Musk that “a lot of work still needs to be done.” Twitter “will need to significantly strengthen content moderation […] and fight disinformation vigorously,” he added in their call center account.
Twitter’s new owner has cut more than half of its California team’s workforce, and content moderation teams have not been spared.
According to several NGOs, including the Center Against Digital Hate, racist, homophobic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic messages on the platform have increased “shockingly” over the past month. “Totally false,” Elon Musk tweeted in response to a New York Times article detailing the association’s findings.
The account of the American rapper Kanye West was suspended on the charge of “incitement to violence” after he published statements admiring Hitler in particular. And Elon Musk opposes the return of convicted far-right American assassin Alex Jones, who claimed the school shooting was just a staged anti-gun show. The multi-billionaire, who experienced the death of his first child, explained that he is “ruthless against anyone who uses the death of children for financial, political or fame”.
Emmanuel Macron also concluded his tweets: “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! »