Macron had a “clear and frank discussion” with Elon Musk about content moderation

The interview lasted an hour, during which the two men talked about moderation and freedom of expression on Twitter, with the French president urging the CEO to “make an effort to follow European rules.”

Emmanuel Macron and Elon Musk clashed on Twitter on Friday to cheers over content moderation, with the entrepreneur taking decisions that have so far defied 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 with Elon Musk this afternoon and we had a frank and honest discussion,” Emmanuel Macron wroteOn a state visit to the United States.

The interview took place in New Orleans and lasted for an hour. This was not previously announced by the Elysée and was kept away from the media.

“Transparent terms of use, significant strengthening of content moderation and protection of freedom of expression: Twitter must strive to comply with European rules,” the head of state added in a series of tweets.

He also said he discussed “future green industry projects such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing” with the Tesla co-founder. “It was a pleasure to see you again” Elon Musk answeredHe said he was “looking forward” to “exciting projects in France”.

Freedom of expression ‘implies responsibilities and limitations’

The world’s richest man bought the influential platform 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 confirmed Twitter’s participation in the Christchurch Call. Terrorism and violent content have no place,” said the French president, referring to the initiative launched by several states and NGOs after the murder in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019. his pictures remained available online for several 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.

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 need to focus on the topic, I’m in favor of more regulation, on the contrary. We’re doing it (in France, editor’s note) and we’re doing it at the European level.” ABC interview.

Freedom of speech “implies responsibilities and limitations. You can’t go out and say racist or anti-Semitic ideas, that’s a point I’m going to defend,” he added.

Twitter’s new owner has cut more than half of its California team’s workforce, and content moderation teams have not been spared. Racist, homophobic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic messages on the platform have increased “shockingly” over the past month, according to several NGOs, including the Center Against Digital Hate.

“Totally false,” Elon Musk wrote on his Twitter account New York Times details the results of the associations. He claimed that the number of tweets containing hate speech by users “continues to decrease”.

The libertarian entrepreneur recently clarified his personal limitations on free speech. The account of the American rapper Kanye West was suspended on the charge of “incitement to violence” after he published statements that admired 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 “has no mercy for 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!”

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