(LifeSiteNews) — French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested cutting off access to social media as a response to the riots in France.
“We need to think about how young people use social networks, in the family, at school, the interdictions there should be… and when things get out of hand we may have to regulate them or cut them off,” Macron said in a meeting with over 250 mayors on July 4, the Guardian reported.
“Above all, we shouldn’t do this in the heat of the moment, and I’m pleased we didn’t have to. But I think it’s a real debate that we need to have in the cold light of day,” he continued.
After facing immense backlash from his political opposition, officials of the French government tried to backtrack Macron’s comments, saying that the president did not mean a “general blackout” of social media platforms but rather an “occasional and temporary” suspension of online networks.
Olivier Faure, head of the French Socialist Party wrote on Twitter that “The country of the rights of man and citizens cannot align itself with those great democracies of China, Russia, and Iran.”
Olivier Marleix from Les Républicains echoed the sentiment: “Cut social media? Like China, Iran, North Korea? Even if it’s a provocation to distract attention, it’s in very bad taste.”
Using the riots as an excuse for censorship
After a policeman shot and killed a 17-year-old French Algerian during a traffic stop in which the driver tried to escape, France has seen violent riots erupt around the country.
“More than 900 people have been arrested, with a reported 45,000 police mobilized nationally in response to the growing crisis,” LifeSiteNews journalist Frank Wright reported. “Thousands of fires rage, countless cars have been burned out and hundreds of public buildings set ablaze, with the largest public library in Marseille being torched.”
Macron immediately blamed “social media and video games” for the violence in the streets, ignoring mass immigration from African and Middle Eastern countries, and seems to be using the riots as an excuse for censorship.
Government spokesman Olivier Véran said that a committee of different political parties is working on a modification of the cybersecurity law currently being discussed in Parliament.
Véran stated that the French government made a “firm request” to social media companies to remove material promoting violence and reveal the identity of those suspected of having posted illegal content.