Twitter has blocked a French government social media campaign under the country’s own law against fake news.
The blocked hashtag campaign #OuiJeVote (Yes I vote) promoted voter registration ahead of European Parliament elections this summer.
The French interior ministry’s Government Information Service was behind the campaign and wanted to pay for some of its tweets to be sponsored, according to Le Figaro and AFP.
But the move was blocked by Twitter under France’s “manipulation of information” law, which came into effect last December, requiring social media platforms to disclose who has paid for sponsored content and how much they paid.
The GIS told AFP that Twitter did not know how to comply and “decided to have a completely hard-line policy” against any “so-called political campaign”, according to BBC translations.
The body added: “It’s not that the law has backfired against us, it’s a platform which does not comply.”
Speaking about Twitter’s block on sponsored adverts for the campaign, French minister of the interior Christophe Castaner said: “Twitter’s priority should be to fight content that glorifies terrorism. Not campaigns to register on the electoral lists of a democratic republic.”
Naima Moutchou, an MP of President Macron’s party En Marche, described the move as “appalling” in a tweet and said she thought it was an April Fools joke.
Twitter rules on EU political content says political campaigning and issue advocacy ads are not permitted in France and other EU member states such as Portugal and Hungary.
Twitter France said it has now decided to lift blocks on adverts promoting voter registration in a post this morning, following the criticism.
It said: “We wanted to make this clarification because we will continue to promote and protect the integrity of conversations around 2019 EU elections over the next few months.”
The US tech giant said its reversal on French political ads came after “many exchanges”.
Picture: Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo