The French government is taking a serious look at the way that companies operate, especially when it comes to hate speech. Earlier this week the parliament’s lower house approved an internet regulation bill, with one of the provisions addressing hate speech on platforms such as Facebook.

If passed by the French parliament, it would give it the authority to set a 24-hour deadline for social media platforms and other online portals to remove hate speech from their platforms once flagged.

A discussion for the upper house of the French parliament on this matter is scheduled for next week, but it remains to be seen when it will take effect if passed.

As it is currently written the provision in the internet regulation bill requires, “companies to remove any content that incites or encourages hateful violence or discrimination based on one’s race or religion, along with child pornography.”

Should they not comply with the aforementioned 24-hour deadline, the companies could have a fine of up to €1.25 million.

As always when it comes to dealing with online hate speech, defining what is and is not deemed hate speech will prove difficult, with the Associated Press noting that France’s lawmakers are still divided on what could constitute such an action.

Regardless it’s an issue that French president, Emmanuel Macron, is aiming to tackle, as he has specifically stated concern over the increase of anti-Semitic attacks and extremist language and behaviour online in the country.

If France does pass such a regulation, it should prove interesting to see how companies like Facebook respond, especially given their mixed reaction to how hate speech is policed on their platform in the past.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]