PARIS — The shock caused by the beheading of a teacher in Paris has reignited the conversation in France about social media regulation.
Several ministers called for stricter rules after it emerged that Samuel Paty, the victim, had been threatened on social media for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in his class before being killed on Friday.
French representatives from Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat have been summoned to a meeting by the minister in charge of citizenship, Marlène Schiappa, on Tuesday morning. The companies have been asked to come up with “concrete proposals” about “cyber-Islamism,” an official said.
On Monday morning, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he wanted to fight “social networks’ terrorist propaganda.” Authors of 80 posts that expressed support for the attacker are being monitored, the government said.
“Those who participated in the public lynching of this teacher are, in some way, responsible for what happened,” Gabriel Attal, a government spokesperson, said Sunday.
The strong reaction came after it emerged that the father of one of Paty’s students had taken to social media to express his anger at the teacher and called for his dismissal. The teacher, who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as part of a class on freedom of speech, had reportedly offered students the option to leave the classroom if they were offended by the images.
The father’s posts were later shared via Facebook groups and WhatsApp messages — drawing attention from radical groups, including the terrorist.
The chain of events shed an unpleasant light on what has been done — and not been done — in the country to tackle a decade-old problem. Earlier this year, the country’s constitutional court struck down a draft law that was meant to limit the spread of hateful content on social media
The lawmaker behind the draft law, Laetitia Avia, from Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche party, said she’s still working on tackling hate speech and is considering a new bill, among other options. Other MPs from the opposition, including conservative leader Christian Jacob, said they would also make proposals to regulate social media content and anonymity on the internet as a way to fight terrorism.
But while groups involved in the fight against hate speech online have criticized the role of social media, they also highlighted gaps in existing rules, saying the government hasn’t put its money where its mouth is.
Paty had filed a complaint to the police after he was made aware of threats coming from social media. He also alerted his bosses. An NGO reported the terrorist’s Twitter account to authorities, French media Le Point reported.
NGOs have “dedicated channels with tech platforms as trusted flaggers,” Dominique Sopo, head of the NGO SOS Racisme said. But the fight against hate speech “hasn’t been the government’s priority,” he argued. “As the police resources were not sufficient … not enough attention was paid to harassment in everyday life,” he added.
“We know that moderation is a question of means,” he said, calling for more transparency from platforms, including on staffing.
France’s legislative and administrative arsenal already tackles illegal content online and cyberbullying, highlighting how the issue lies with enforcement more than lack of rules.
French law requires online platforms to remove illegal content once it’s been flagged, as part of the EU’s 2000 e-commerce directive. Since 2009, child sexual abuse material, racist and anti-Semitic comments, hate speech and terrorist propaganda can be flagged via a platform called Pharos.
It’s via Pharos that the terrorist’s account was reported by an NGO, and it was also used to identify people who have expressed support for the terrorist after the attack. In 2019 alone, more than 228,000 reports were filed to the platform, according to the government, which are handled by a team of 28 officers.
In 2018, Schiappa shepherded a law against online bullying in groups. Sanctions include up to three years in prison and €30,000 fines.
The latest legislative efforts to crack down on hate speech have, however, failed. MP Avia’s law, which required platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to remove flagged hate speech within 24 hours, was almost completely struck down by the country’s constitutional council. The council argued the text could threaten freedom of speech.
Pressure up on social networks
“Today, I still don’t know how many content moderators Twitter has and where they are,” she told Read More – Source
Twitter users are exposing pro-Russian sentiment in China, and Beijing is not happy
Anonymous Twitter users are exposing the extreme nationalism and pro-Russian sentiment circulating online in China — and Beijing is not happy about it.
In bad faith?
Suppressed voices, echo chambers
BLACKBERRY PHONES TO STOP WORKING AS COMPANY FINALLY PULLS PLUG
independent– BlackBerry phones, once the height of mobile devices, are finally being shut off.
The company announced that services for the older devices will be brought to an end on 4 January. At that point, they will “no longer reliably function”, BlackBerry said, and will be unable to get data, texts or make phone calls, including to emergency numbers.
It is just the latest in a series of endings for the once equally beloved and hated name, which helped drive the mobile revolution and was at the forefront of business and technology. While the BlackBerry has been declared dead a number of times before, the latest move means that the phones themselves will actually stop working.
In 2016, after its phones had been replaced largely by smartphones from Apple and others, BlackBerry announced that it had transitioned away from phones and into making software and that it would focus on providing security tools to companies and governments. It has sold the BlackBerry brand to other companies, who have created devices bearing the name.
In 2020, BlackBerry said that with that move complete, it would start taking offline the legacy services that allowed those old devices to keep working. Phones that run any of BlackBerry’s own operating systems – BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software – were given an “end of life or termination date” at the start of 2022.
Next week, that date will finally arrive and support will end. While the phones will still be able to perform some of their functions without BlackBerry’s services, many of their central features will be removed, and the phones will not work reliably.
BlackBerry said the support was being removed in recognition of the fact that it now works in security software and that the old products did not reflect its business. It had prolonged support in the years since that transition “as an expression of thanks to our loyal partners and customers”, it said.
70 Jupiter-sized ‘rogue planets’ discovered in our galaxy
independent– A team of astronomers discovered at least 70 ‘rogue’ planets in our galaxy, the largest collection ever found to date.
While conventional planets (like those in our Solar System) orbit a star, rogue planets roam freely without travelling around a nearby star.
“We did not know how many to expect and are excited to have found so many,” said Núria Miret-Roig, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux.
It would usually be impossible to detect rogue planets because they are hard to spot far from a star’s light. One key fact of their existence made them visible: these planets still give off enough heat to glow millions of years after their creation, making them visible to powerful telescopes.
This heat allowed the 70 planets – each with masses close to that of Jupiter – to be discovered in the Scorpius and Ophiuchus constellations.
“We measured the tiny motions, the colours and luminosities of tens of millions of sources in a large area of the sky,” explained Ms Miret-Roig. “These measurements allowed us to securely identify the faintest objects in this region, the rogue planets.”
The astronomers’ study suggests there could be many more elusive, starless planets yet to be discovered, numbering in the billions in the Milky Way alone.
By studying these planets, astronomers believe they could unlock clues as to how the mysterious objects come to be. It is hypothesised they are generated from the collapse of gas clouds too small to create stars, but they could also have been ejected from a parent system.
“These objects are extremely faint and little can be done to study them with current facilities,” says Hervé Bouy, another astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique. “The ELT [Extremely Large Telescope, currently being built in Chile] will be absolutely crucial to gathering more information about most of the rogue planets we have found.”
The exact number of rogue planets discovered is vague, because the observations made by the researchers do not allow them to measure the mass of the objects. Bodies with a mass 13 times greater than that of Jupiter are unlikely to be planets, but relying on brightness makes this figure unclear.
The brightness of these objects is also related to age, as the older the planet is the dimmer it will be. The brightest objects in the sample could have a mass greater than the upper limit but be older and therefore dimmer. Researchers estimate there could be as many as 100 more planets yet to be discovered because of this uncertainty.
Australia3 years ago
Button and Diane Powellpark the school bus after three decades
Australia3 years ago
Button and Diane Powellpark the school bus after three decades
Europe2 years ago
Covid: Flights shut down as EU discusses UK virus threat
Europe2 years ago
Post-Brexit trade: Is red tape chaos just ‘teething trouble’ as the UK government argues?
Tech2 years ago
Search engine startup asks users to be the customer, not the product
Health2 years ago
Spain ‘to register’ those who refuse to have Covid-19 vaccine
Tech8 months ago
Sign up to The Independent’s free cryptocurrency expert panel event
Arts4 years ago
How a chain-link mosque at the Vancouver Biennale became a community hub