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France's President Macron Wants To Block Websites During Elections To Fight 'Fake News' (gizmodo.com) 299

French President Emmanuel Macron has a rather extreme approach to combat fake news: ban entire websites. In a speech to journalists on Wednesday, Macron said he planned to introduce new legislation to strictly regulate fake news during online political campaigns. Gizmodo reports: His proposal included a number of measures, most drastically "an emergency legal action" that could enable the government to either scrap "fake news" from a website or even block a website altogether. "If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must be strong and have clear rules," Macron said. "When fake news are spread, it will be possible to go to a judge... and if appropriate have content taken down, user accounts deleted and ultimately websites blocked."

Macron, himself a target of election interference, also outlined some less extreme measures in his speech yesterday. He proposed more rigid requirements around transparency, specifically in relation to online ads during elections. According to the Guardian, Macron said the legislation would force platforms to publicly identify who their advertisers are, as well as limit how much they can spend on ads over the course of an election campaign.

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France's President Macron Wants To Block Websites During Elections To Fight 'Fake News'

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  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @12:03AM (#55866995) Journal

    I can think of no possible way this could be abused as political censorship to, say, protect the incumbent government from inconvenient reporting.

    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @12:20AM (#55867047) Journal

      I can think of no possible way this could be abused as political censorship

      While I detect a certain sarcastic tone I think you might actually be correct, not because they would not abuse it but simply because censoring the web does not work regardless of reason. Any affected website will just move to another country. This will apply both to real fake news sites as well as those targeted for political reasons. The can make it illegal in France but not Canada, the US or any other country with strong free speech laws.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The web doesn't work like that. If it did, people wouldn't care so much when their favourite site gets demoted or removed from Google. People could just type the URL directly, right?

        They wouldn't care when Facebook or Twitter bans one account, because they could just move to less popular services.

        And they would be happy to have a Tor only service, because anyone can download the Tor browser and view it.

        Fake news only works when people see it.

      • This is misguided. You're treating this as an application of a principle instead of one of traffic. The first is an on/off switch , the second is one of amounts and can be measured
        If you post an article and Google downranks it because its algorithms consider it bad for you, and other sites (including Twitter and Facebook) stop linking to you because that would downgrade them in Google search rankings or it could cause them to lose Google ads temporarily or permanently, and web providers only include your si

      • I can think of no possible way this could be abused as political censorship

        While I detect a certain sarcastic tone I think you might actually be correct, not because they would not abuse it but simply because censoring the web does not work regardless of reason. Any affected website will just move to another country. This will apply both to real fake news sites as well as those targeted for political reasons. The can make it illegal in France but not Canada, the US or any other country with strong free speech laws.

        If one actually goes and RTFA it becomes clear that this is less Macron and the evil gubbermint coming to take away your sacred freedom of speech and more of a mixed bag of measures like increasing transparency in political advertising, introducing a spending cap on political adverting and providing what amounts to a fast-track legal mechanism to file libel suits in order to then take down malicious content or block abusive sites. It seems to be aimed at putting an end to the tactic of spewing large amounts

      • "censoring the web does not work regardless of reason"

        Currently this is only true because censoring the Web is virtually impossible. You might more accurately state "attempting to censoring the web does not work regardless of reason".

        But it isn't impossible to censor the Web. The EU made the first attempts at this with the EC ruling that there is a 'right to be forgotten'.

        That's actually a 'right to have negative information removed'.

        I don't need to provide examples of how this could lead to not merely abus

    • by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @01:30AM (#55867209) Journal

      I can think of no possible way this could be abused as political censorship to, say, protect the incumbent government from inconvenient reporting.

      That's literally in the summary:

      "If we want to protect liberal democracies[...]have content taken down, user accounts deleted and ultimately websites blocked."

      That stuff in the "[...]" is fluff to ensure that people don't see the two ends of the sentence together. They are literally saying they want political censorship.

      • I'm pretty sure that "liberal democracies" refers to the political systems, not to the specific governments.
    • Reading the summary and comprehending it helps: it will be possible to go to a judge... and if appropriate have content taken down,

    • Bankster stooges sure do hate freedom of political speech.

    • It's also one of the many reasons Macron got his narrow win, media blackouts hindered "inconvenient facts" from reaching the public.

      There are obviously sources outside of France, hence why Macron wants to block them, but if you're a Frenchie on Facebook saying stuff during election season, you could go to jail.

  • Macron has a rather extreme approach to combat fake news: ban entire websites.

    Flowchart of how they decide to block websites:

    1) Does website have negative material about Macron? Goto 3.
    2) Do not block website. End.
    3) Block website. End.

    I could see making some response center, that countered material found on some websites, but even there you can game the content all day long, and even if the corrections are wrong no-one will fix it till after Election Day... best to just let people say what they want and h

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Large teams of security service workers, contractors will watch the web from the USA, UK, France and other time zones to totally ban press freedom in France 24/7.

      The EU, CIA, GCHQ, NGO's, NATO and others will give France real time list of new sites, comments, accounts, forums, video clips, cartoons, music, art, history to ban.
      By web site, ip and any other method of easy networking. No just trying the news site ip.
      Such a real time ban list will then be placed between the French ISP user and all ISP in F
      • Already the case, French Law has an engrained 3 day media blackout before elections and they did pressure Facebook and large news sites successfully in complying when Macron's faux-pas came out. They do go so far as to threaten people in France with prosecution for sharing news articles about Macrons corruption.

    • As soon as it is law, everyone affected by 'fake news' during an election can approach a judge and file a complaint.
      The judge decides if the complaint is valid.
      Not the government, not the ruling party, not the president or prime minister.
      THE LAW IS EQUAL FOR EVERY PARTY RUNNING FOR ELECTIONS.

      • I trust the average judge less than I trust the average wino passed out on a park bench. Way less.

      • by MrMr ( 219533 )
        The average French judge?
        See: wikipedia "...The Ministry of Justice handles the administration of courts and the judiciary, including paying salaries or constructing new courthouses. The Ministry also funds and administers the prison system. Lastly, it receives and processes applications for presidential pardons and proposes legislation dealing with matters of civil or criminal justice. The Minister of Justice is also the head of public prosecution, though this is controversial since it is seen to represen
      • Not actually paying attention to current evens, are you?

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @12:28AM (#55867069)

    We as humans are animals and as such can be victims of our own nature. In this context, it's a well understood fact that humans have a tendency to make poor long-term decisions based on sudden emotionally charged events. After the flood of neurotransmitters has subsided, we are much better at making long-term decisions.

    • And the next French presidential election is in 4 years...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 )

      It's called "leftism", and it comes in either fascism or communism; different sides of the same coin called tyranny. First Germany, now France wants to ban speech. Meanwhile in America, progressive college campuses are getting all violent with their Antifa (an ironic name considering the meaning and their own actions) movement while proclaiming safe spaces.

      It's like the fucking matrix. Down the BLUE pill, and live a life of happy ignorance while under the control of tyranny. Take the RED pill, and accept th

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The US is far worse. This requires a judge to sign off on it, with consequences if you lie. In the US you can spam DMCA notices all day with impunity.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by h33t l4x0r ( 4107715 )
        Banning fake news is not the same thing as limiting free speech. You do not have the right to make false statements about political candidates. And if you think antifas are more violent than skinheads you need to get out more.
      • by pots ( 5047349 )
        Oh for gods' sake... communism is left, fascism is right. Here. [ixquick-proxy.com] You can't just take everything that you don't like and declare that the outgroup represents all of it.

        Well... you can. I guess you did.
        • Facism has nothing to do with left and right.
          Hitler had a fascistic regime, so had Stalin, so had Nero.

          • by pots ( 5047349 )
            ... Where does this come from? Judging by the comments that I read on Slashdot, no one knows what fascism is. Which is not that weird. The weird thing is that everyone thinks that they know what fascism is (conveniently, it's the political philosophy of whoever they disagree with). But, come on, Nero? You could describe the Romans as fascistic in general, but Nero not more so than his contemporaries.

            Here's [wikipedia.org] the wikipedia page on fascism. Here's the first paragraph from that page:

            Fascism /fæzm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism,[1][2] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce[3] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.[4] The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries.[4] Opposed to liberalism, Marxism and anarchism, fascism is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

            I don't know where you're

            • a form of radical authoritarian nationalism,[1][2] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce...

              If you put it like that, Soviet Russia?

              • by pots ( 5047349 )
                There are a couple of ACs who have explained this already. I'll just link this one [slashdot.org], since it seems as though he mistakenly replied to me instead of you.
        • Fascism is on the right, Nazism was different. Fascism isn't always bad, you could call Linus a fascist within the Linux project.

          The socialist ideology is what got Hitler to power by making it a nationalist movement. He was all about the expansion of government, free healthcare, regulated jobs, minimum wages but then framed it within the context of military conquest at the expense of minorities.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        It's called "leftism", and it comes in either fascism

        Wrong.

        Fascism is a far right ideology.

        The far right is just as guilty as the far left in promoting censorship. Hell, it's worse here in the UK where the only people trying to tell you that you cant say things... are the Daily Mail crowd.

        Finally, Macron has not asked for anything like censorship. If you actually read his speech, he's calling for rules around political advertising including complete disclosure about funding and organisation. Here's what the legislation actually calls for.

        New legislation for websites would include more transparency about sponsored content. Under the new law, websites would have to say who is financing them and the amount of money for sponsored content would be capped.

        So it's aski

      • Why the fuck did this get +5? There are several fallacies here:
        1) facism = left, funny, I dont remember mussolini being left wing.
        2) antida violence is a major danger - the radicals who actually ran over people with a car a few months ago were neo nazi right wingers.
        3) the world is better and you should accept it - this is the classical argument of facists and dictators to justify their crimes.
        4) Tyranny brings happiness, liberty is sad but honest - if this was true, much more people would support tyranny.

      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        Did the price of vodka go up today? Seems there a lot of Russian trolls are around here today. Next we'll be seeing pro-confederate, pro-nazi, etc. crap under the guise of "free speech".

        Trump and his group of flying monkeys have been after the press since day one. He wants to use the justice department as a cudgel against his enemies. He wants to shut down "fake news". He's filled his cabinet with unqualified corporate lackeys, and has refused to divest himself of his business interests.

        It's obvious which p

    • In the face of it, it seems like he wants a fast track legal procedure. The law already allows action against this kind of thing (slander/libel etc) but it often moves slowly and elections are a hard deadline.

      It might actually be a good way to handle fake news. There will be the transparency and oversight of the legal system, with separation of politicians and judiciary. If the news isn't fake then trying to abuse the system is unlikely to end well for the abuser.

      Probably worth trying. My main concern would be the potential cost of mounting a defence. In the interests of democracy it should be free for both sides.

      • What are you going to do to accomplish this "fast track legal procedure" ? Delay other court cases ? Or spend less time looking at the evidence ?

    • This IS the best long-term decision. ... For the incumbent political party.

  • we are just rolling over and letting the nazi take France all armed forces will be ordered to lay down there arms and there will no more Elections or free press

  • Advertisements are exaggerated information at best, but often lies, are paid for by increasing product prices, a kind of tax that everyone of us has to pay as the advertisements budgets are paid by the advertisements and deducted from profits, i.e. in the end the consumer pays.

    In addition, it is a time waster.

    When it is not about product advertisement, like for politics, advertisements converts money into influence directly, i.e. money equals power. This is automatically at odds with a democracy ("one man o

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@NoSpaM.tpno-co.org> on Friday January 05, 2018 @01:31AM (#55867215) Homepage

    If "fake news" is really influencing an election, perhaps we're just not ready for democracy?

    • If "fake news" is really influencing an election, perhaps we're just not ready for democracy?

      That's right, and our glorious leaders will take democracy off us if we all don't learn how to vote properly.

    • Democracy should include a test to see if you are fit to vote properly and know what parties are available. Bare minimum know what platforms they offer and such.
  • block just the commentary/news/political web sites ;) Right individuals with no clue!
    Is this individual a real player, or a problem? That is the question?
  • one man's fake news is another man's truth. YMMV.

    • This must be the stupidest reasoning disguised as insight i ever heard. Like new-agers and hippies talking how there are many truths, everybody has their own truth etc. utter BS.

      That statement is completely useless.

      I know a guy out there that think earth is flat, and that's truth for him. See the problem yet with personal truths ?

      There's only 1 truth, at least in case of "news".
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      No. That's bullshit. There is objective truth. There is the scientific method. And the entire point of a court is to determine fact from fiction.

      If we decide that truth is subjective, there will be no crime, no justice, no science, no democracy.

      • Bullshit.There is a whole range of statements where the relativism of opinions is real and 'fake news' is interpreted so broadly that it covers a whole range. Originally it referred to utterly baseless claims without any justification. Now it can be anything you don't like. It's mixed with conspiracy theories, anything that comes from anyone linked to anything russian, clickbait or dissenting opinions. Or anything that Propornot has listed as fake news. So in a way 'we'll first prohibit fake news and then t

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          There is a whole range of statements where the relativism of opinions is real and 'fake news' is interpreted so broadly that it covers a whole range.

          Fake news is not a "wrong" opinion. It's news that is factually incorrect, a deliberate lie designed to push a specific agenda.

          Just because some people don't understand that (*cough*trump*cough*) doesn't change anything, at least not legally.

          • You can't have it both ways.
            I agree that the meaning of fake news should be very limited, and my definition would be more limited than yours, but that is not how it's used. In reality it's like a slogan which sweeps up a whole category of things. As soon as you interact with people you have to take in account how they use the words. At the same time as soon as someone comes with measures that sound very specific, like suppressing fake news, that may sound good and you end up supporting them because of the n

  • Just outlaw the whole advertisment bullshit surrounding elections. It's ALL fake news anyway.

  • Macron said he planned to introduce new legislation to strictly regulate fake news during online political campaigns.

    Only *approved* fake news will be allowed ^_^

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Friday January 05, 2018 @09:19AM (#55868397)
    It's not like governments would call anything that the existing occupants don't like "fake news" ...

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