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Twitter blocks French government ad campaign using France's own fake news law

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By Emma Beswick
Twitter blocks French government ad campaign using France's own fake news law

A campaign by the French government encouraging people to register to vote in the European Parliament elections has been blocked on Twitter, officials said on Tuesday.

The platform claimed it risked violating France's fake news law, which was introduced in December last year and aims to combat the "manipulation of information".

It requires online political campaigns in France to state who bought the adverts and how much they cost.

The social network did not want to take the risk of breaking the new French law and preferred to play it safe.

The government's information service (GIS) told AFP news agency: "Twitter does not know how to do that (provide fair, clear and transparent information on who bought adverts), and so decided to have a completely hard-line policy, which is to cut any so-called political campaigns."

GIS, which coordinated the "#Ouijevote" (#YesI'mvoting) campaign, had planned to pay for sponsored tweets, according to AFP.

It argued that the adverts were public information messages and should not be considered to be "from a political or party campaign".

"It's not that the law has backfired, it's the host that has not complied with it," the authority added.

One MP said on Twitter that upon seeing the reports in French media, she thought they were an April Fools' Day joke.

"Twitter's priority should be to fight content that promotes terrorism. Not campaigns that encourage people to sign up to the democratic republic's electoral registers," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted.

The subject will be discussed on Thursday with Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon at the G7 meeting of Interior Ministers, set to take place over two days in Paris, he added.

Euronews contacted Twitter but had not received a response at the time of writing.