France to get tougher on social media hate speech: prime minister

PARIS, March 19 (Reuters) - France will toughen rules on hate speech to ensure social media giants do more to remove racist and anti-Semitic content from internet, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Monday.

The announcement comes as the 28 European Union countries work on rules that would compel Facebook, Twitter , Youtube and Google to be more proactive in filtering and weeding out hate speech on their platforms.

"These days a newspaper director is criminally responsible if hateful comments are posted on its website but if you run a social network anything goes," Philippe said in a speech on France's policy on racism.

"Nobody is going to convince me that the social networks live in space. What gets published and circulated in France is published and circulated in France and must answer to the laws of the French republic."

Philippe said France would tighten up its own rules pending progress at EU level, but did not elaborate on when or how.

The man credited with inventing the worldwide web, British computer scientists, Tim Berners-Lee, called in a public letter last week for powerful internet platforms and social media companies to be regulated to prevent the internet from being "weaponized" on a massive scale.

"In recent years, we've seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections and criminals steal troves of personal data," he said in an open letter published on the 29th anniversary of the creation of the web, (http://bit.ly/2FDx8XO) (Reporting By Brian Love and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Richard Lough)

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Migrants risk their lives to reach France
Cars pass through a tunnel on the Italian-French border from where migrants have attempted to pass into France, near the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia in northern Italy, December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants discuss their day having crossed part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, in the shelter centre of the organisation Tous Migrants (All Migrants) in the town of Briancon in southeastern France, December 22, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants walk through snow on a steep ravine as they attempt to cross part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Abdullhai, 38 (R) and Abu, 23 (front L), migrants from Guinea, talk and use their mobile phones in their room the day after crossing part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, in the shelter centre of the organisation Tous Migrants (All Migrants) in the town of Briancon in southeastern France, December 22, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Abdurahman, a migrant from Guinea, walks in snow after crossing part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants walk through snow as they attempt to cross part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Abdullhai, 38, from Guinea, attempts to cross part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Kamarra, 28 (L), from Guinea and a group of other migrants rest and warm up by a fire in a cave after crossing part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants walk through snow as they attempt to cross part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Abdullhai, 38 (L), and Abdurahman, migrants from Guinea walk along with another group as they pass an Italian man during an attempt to cross part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Abdullhai, 38, from Guinea, rests after crossing part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants rest after having crossed part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants mostly from the Darfur region of western Sudan warm up by a fire under a highway bypass where they have been sheltering from the weather as they prepare to attempt to cross the Italian border into France, in the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia, northern Italy, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Snow covers the beginning of a mountain pass from where migrants try to cross from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 19, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants mostly from the Darfur region of western Sudan warm up by a fire under a highway bypass where they have been sheltering from the weather as they prepare to attempt to cross the Italian border into France, in the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia, northern Italy, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A sign that warns of avalanche dangers protrudes from the snow on a mountain pass where migrants try to cross from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A helicopter belonging to the French police searches for migrants attempting to cross part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Bardonecchia in northern Italy, December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Aid volunteers from the Italian Catholic relief organisation Caritas give hot tea and bread with jam to a group of migrants in the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia, northern Italy, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man prays on a river bank after spending the night under a highway bypass from where migrants of mostly North African origins prepare to attempt to cross the Italian border into France, in the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia, northern Italy, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Discarded clothes are seen by a mountain pass near the Italian-French border from where migrants have attempted to pass into France, near the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia in northern Italy, December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Migrants walk through snow after crossing part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
A man washes himself in a cold river after spending the night under a highway bypass from where migrants of mostly North African origins prepare to attempt to cross the Italian border into France, in the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia, northern Italy, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
A migrant rests after crossing part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "MODOLA ALPS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
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