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the Senate deletes two flagship provisions of the Avia law

Laetitia Avia MP (LREM) in the National Assembly, July 3. STEPHANE OF SAKUTIN / AFP

The Senate Law Commission, which this week is considering the draft law on the “fight against hate on the Internet” (carried by Laetitia Avia, MP, adopted at first reading by the Assembly on 9 July) rejected one of the key provisions of the text, Wednesday 11 December. The Senators have indeed chosen to remove the obligation for large online platforms (first, public social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Twitter) to remove content calling for hatred within a time limit. maximum of twenty-four hours.

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Noting that the intention of this provision is “Laudable”, but that “The proposed wording” by Bill Avia “Still remains legally unfinished at this stage”, an amendment of the rapporteur, Senator Christophe-André Frassa (The Republicans) was adopted, which removes from the text the reference to this deadline. This argument was based in particular on a harsh opinion of the European Commission, which noted at the end of November that a period of twenty-four hours “A disproportionate burden on the platforms”, and could lead to too much preventative censorship of messages from the giants of the Net.

A provision opposed by NGOs and major platforms

This twenty-four hour delay was also one of the main criticisms of the text by major social networks, including Facebook. The first social network in the world believes that the problem of hate content is more a matter of virality than of duration of exposure. “It's not the length of time a message stays online, it's the number of people who see it,” Monday, December 4, Nick Clegg, Facebook's public affairs manager, still thought.

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This rejection of a key element of the text was hailed by the association defending freedoms La Quadrature du Net, very opposed to this bill. It considers in a statement that this is a “First victory”.

The association also welcomes the suppression, by the Senate Law Commission, of a “Perfectly absurd obligation (…) requiring platforms to censor any reappearance of content already censored. This would have involved constant monitoring of all the messages they broadcast, in frontal violation of European law “. However, the organization is concerned about new provisions added by the Law Commission, which would allow the CSA to define the platforms concerned by the text in a way “Arbitrary” according to La Quadrature du Net.

The version of the text resulting from the commission of laws should, except major surprise, be adopted by the Senate in plenary session next week. The text will then be submitted to a mixed joint commission, charged with drawing up a synthesis between the version voted by the National Assembly and that of the Senate, before a second reading.

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