French President Emmanuel Macron does not rule out that in the future the country’s government may limit the access of young people to social networks as a means of countering possible riots, writes Gizmodo.
The French leader said this during a meeting with the mayors of cities whose communities were affected by the riots. The country, as you know, has been gripped by protests after the police recently shot and killed a teenager in a suburb of Paris. The actions led to mass arrests and property damage of more than $1 billion.
The logic behind cutting off access to social media is that since young people are behind most of the unrest, and social media is a hotbed of radicalization in particular, cutting off access to it can help stifle dissent.
“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 during the meeting. “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.”
Critics have accused Macron of espousing authoritarian tactics in his pursuit of social order. The government later said that the French leader was not talking about a “general shutdown” of the Internet, but only about “episodic and temporary” shutdown of access to social networks.
The only countries that resorted to such tactics were known autocracies and Third World countries: China, Russia, Iran, India, Kenya, Cuba, etc. Such actions by governments have been sharply criticized by civil liberties advocates, who consider the neutralization of web services an excess of government authority.