An ad campaign launched by the French government to encourage people to register to vote has hit an embarrassing snag: Twitter wont run the ads, as the company fears they may violate the new French law targeting fake news.
The Elysee hoped to inspire citizens to register to vote in the European elections ahead of the upcoming deadline by paying for sponsored tweets promoting the hashtag #OuiJeVote (Yes, I Vote). But the seemingly innocuous ad campaign faced an unexpected hurdle: Frances recently-passed anti-fake-news legislation, which places strict rules on online political campaigns. The law states that all political ads must indicate who paid for them and how much was spent.
Fearing that the ad may violate the law passed by President Emmanuel Macrons own government, Twitter refused to run the ad.
The decision stunned French lawmakers and officials.
“I thought it was an April Fools!” tweeted MP Naima Moutchou.
Interior Minister Christophe Castanter expressed similar disbelief.
“Twitters priority should be to fight content that glorifies terrorism. Not campaigns to register on the electoral lists of a democratic republic,” he wrote.
La priorité de Twitter devrait être de combattre les contenus faisant l'apologie du terrorisme.
Pas les campagnes incitant à sinscrire sur les listes électorales d'une république démocratique.
Ce sujet sera abordé jeudi avec les GAFA lors du G7 des ministres de l'Intérieur.
— Christophe Castaner (@CCastaner) 2 апреля 2019 г.
The French law, which was enacted in December, stipulates that information about the person or company who pays for an ad must be available in an easily accessible database.
Paris now claims that its Twitters inability to make such information publicly available that has resulted in the company adopting a “hardline policy” – which forbids all political ads.
“Its not that the law has backfired against us, its a platform which does not comply,” the government information service told AFP.
French Twitter users didnt seem very sympathetic to the officials grumblings, however, with many openly rejoicing in how Frances anti-fake-news crusade had come back to haunt Paris.
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