France plans to regulate “fake news,” tech companies respond to security flaws, U.S. Senate to vote on FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality

Corporate Accountability News Highlights is a regular series by Ranking Digital Rights highlighting key news related to tech companies, freedom of expression, and privacy issues around the world.

France plans to regulate “fake news” during elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron (Image via Kremlin.ru, licensed CC BY 4.0)

In the latest push in Europe to regulate social media content, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a new bill to regulate the spreading of “fake news” during elections. In an annual speech to the press, Macron said the bill will be submitted to the parliament in upcoming weeks. The bill specifically targets sponsored content, and if adopted it would require social media platforms to “make public the identity of sponsors and of those who control them,” and to impose limits on the amount of money paid to sponsor such content.

Macron added that others measures targeting “fake news” would include the deletion of content, blocking sites for spreading false news or deleting them from the results of search engines, and the closure of accounts of infringing users, following judicial orders. A draft of the bill is yet to be released, and it remains unclear how French authorities will coordinate with technology companies to regulate such content, and what kind of actions will be taken against platforms that do not comply the future rules.

Internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies should be transparent about how they handle government requests for content restrictions and publish transparency reports on such requests that include data on the number of requests received, the number they complied with, the types of subject matter associated with these requests. Most companies evaluated in the 2017 Index lacked transparency about how they handle government requests to restrict content or accounts, and did not disclose sufficient data about the number of requests they received or complied with, or which authorities made these requests.   

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