EU Considers Social Media Shutdowns Amidst Unrest: A Cautionary Debate
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 07: In this photo illustration, the social medias applications logos, Twitter, Messenger, Telegram, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Gmail, Facebook and Google are displayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone on November 07, 2018 in Paris, France. Tik Tok, also called Douyin is a Chinese mobile application for video sharing and social networking developed by the Toutiao company. The application TikTok, which allows to create video clips, becomes the most downloaded application in the world in number of downloads, in front of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Downloaded almost 4 million times in the United States alone, today it has about 500 million active users each month worldwide. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

EU Considers Social Media Shutdowns Amidst Unrest: A Cautionary Debate

The recent 8-day-long unrest in France following the shooting death of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk has prompted discussions about social media’s role in inciting violence among the youth. French President Emmanuel Macron has raised concerns about the impact of platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and video games, threatening to consider social media shutdowns if they fail to promptly delete hateful content during riots under the new Digital Service Act (DSA).

EU’s Digital Service Act and Its Controversies

The Digital Service Act, set to come into force on August 25, aims to address online dangers, hateful content, consumer fraud, commercial surveillance, and disinformation. However, there are concerns about certain provisions and their potential impact on freedom of expression and privacy rights.

One particular worry is the approach taken by entities responsible for identifying and removing illegal content online, which may lead to misuse by government and law enforcement agencies, especially in countries with weakened rule of law.