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Facebook to hand over data on hate speech suspects to French courts

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By Euronews with Reuters
Facebook to hand over data on hate speech suspects to French courts
Copyright  Reuters

Facebook will hand over the names of French users who are suspected of using hate speech on its platform to judges in what is believed to be a world first.

The decision by the social media giant comes after a number of meetings between the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and President Emmanuel Macron.

France's digital affairs minister Cedric O told Reuters the deal with the French government is "huge news" and that "the judicial process will be able to run normally".

“It’s really very important, they’re only doing it for France,” he added.

In the past, Facebook revealed IP addresses and other identification of data of suspects to French judges, but only in cases of terrorism and violent acts.

Facebook has refrained from handing over user identification of people suspected of hate speech in the past because it did not have to under US-French law and because it was worried countries without an independent judiciary could abuse it.

France's parliament is currently debating legislation that would see tech giants fined up to 4% of their global revenue if they do not do enough to remove hate speech from their platforms.

Germany already has a similar law that was passed in January 2018, which now means social media networks have 24 hours to remove hate speech, fake news, and illegal material, or they face fines of up to 50 million euros.

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