• On the theme of social networks, the two presidential finalists call for more digital sovereignty.

  • This would go through the end of American or Chinese social networks and the creation of a French platform.

  • Is it really possible?

    20 Minutes

    put the question to Philippe Latombe, MP and author of a parliamentary report on digital sovereignty.

With the approach of the second round of the presidential election, the two finalists tried to seize on a major theme: digital.

A magic wand here, another there, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have tried to find several remedies for a subject that concerns (almost) everyone: the use of social networks.

The most blatant trick was undoubtedly carried out during the long interview granted to our colleagues from Le Point, on April 12, by the outgoing president.

Asked about the issue of the regulation of social networks, Emmanuel Macron described it as "a real political and democratic adventure", which he considers "necessary".

Positioning himself against the monopoly of American platforms, Emmanuel Macron defended the creation of a social network Made in France, even European.

"We must not hesitate to consider the dismantling of those who are in a situation of monopoly and to regulate", he adds.

The candidate here raises the question of digital sovereignty, a subject also put forward by his opponent Marine Le Pen.

Digital sovereignty, "is being able to choose between two solutions"

But around this broad theme, neither of the two candidates really seems to explain how to achieve digital sovereignty one day.

To understand this better,

20 Minutes

met Philippe Latombe, deputy (Modem) and author of a parliamentary report on digital sovereignty, published in June 2021. discovered the proposals of the two candidates.

“Marine Le Pen would like if you are French, you buy French.

It's not a problem when you have a good level to develop our products.

But when we don't have it, how do we do it?, asks the parliamentarian To be rather caricatural, digital sovereignty means being able to choose between two solutions: I have an American solution, easy to use for the user and very powerful, then a French or European solution, of lower quality, but which could improve over time".

A tricolor social network, yes, but not right away

Developing a French social network would not be possible in the state, concedes the deputy.

"This requires technological developments such that we could not bet everything on the French network right away".

However, French platforms have indeed emerged, like Yubo, created in 2015. But it remains very little known in France and has mainly developed across the Atlantic.

“This is explained by the very strong force of attraction of the United States.

This is the principle of the virtuous circle: the Americans have a technological lead, so they attract talent”.

We come to the two proposals of the deputy for the next President of the Republic: to train more talent while developing the digital ecosystem.

On the first point, Philippe Latombe regrets the delay in training in recent years.

“We had a big lead there, but we lost a lot.

In France, we have engineering schools which train very high-level students in the field of digital technology and artificial intelligence”.

On the second point, Philippe Latombe believes that it will be necessary “that the State and the communities have more confidence in the ecosystem through public contracts, rather than subsidies”.

No dismantling, but sanctions

Should we also promote the ecosystem by activating a "dismantling" of American social networks in France, as proposed by Emmanuel Macron?

“No, because the system is always afraid of emptiness,” retorts Philippe Latombe.

To remove Facebook or Twitter from the chessboard, it would still be necessary that more local social networks have been developed in the meantime.

But not only.

“Dismantling a company like Meta [formerly Facebook, which brings together Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp] is a very specific procedure, where one must be able to justify an abuse of a dominant position or an anti-competition rule.

We could not set it up in Europe because it is an American company, ”he judges.

“The best solution is to apply the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the end.

This would make it possible to say to Facebook "Sorry, but you are no longer in the nails so you have to sanction".

Except that it would be necessary to sanction with an amount which hurts the accounts, not only up to 50 million euros ”.

If the deputy welcomes the efforts of the outgoing president on the subject, he raises a main inconsistency in the proposals of Emmanuel Macron.

"His program is very focused on the digital economy, but not enough on the part of the values ​​and rights to be imposed in our countries".

And to invite the future Head of State to “anticipate future legal decisions which will force the State to review its positions on a certain number of digital subjects.

»

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The eternal question of anonymity on social networks

In the interview with Point, Emmanuel Macron also called for an end to anonymity on social networks.

A subject that often comes back to the forefront of the digital scene.

The question of pseudonym had earlier been discussed in Parliament, but later rejected.

"The lifting of anonymity could not be envisaged without studying the consequences on freedom of expression", explained the parliamentarians at the time.

For his part, the Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O had described “the question of anonymity” online as “a very bad fight”.

"The police and justice have the means to find them and punish them," he said.

What does Marine Le Pen's program say on the matter?

In an interview given to Digital, Jean-Lin Lacapelle, in charge of the digital component of his campaign, had assumed to take the weight of the misdeeds of social networks, without however announcing restrictive measures.

"

The State cannot be behind each person when they use computers: it is the citizens who must, in the final analysis, adopt responsible behavior vis-à-vis the digital”, estimated the politician at the time.

  • By the Web

  • Presidential election 2022

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • Marine Le Pen

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