France’s anti-fake news law fails test over interior minister’s false claims

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A newly introduced French law designed to combat the proliferation of false information on social media which may manipulate elections was tested this month for the first time, but not in the manner the government foresaw when it devised the legislation. Two communist politicians lodged a demand, under the articles of the law, for the removal of a message posted on Twitter by French interior minister Christophe Castaner, who falsely claimed that May Day demonstrators had attacked a Paris hospital and its staff. Géraldine Delacroix reports on how they lost their case, but won their demonstration that the law, as they put it, “serves no purpose”.

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Adopted by parliament last November, France’s law “against the manipulation of information”, more generally known as the “anti-fake news law”, has been put to the test this month for the first time, and not exactly in circumstances that President Emmanuel Macron envisaged when he announced his plans for the legislation in January 2018.