Macron and his government are attempting to unilaterally scrub out the internet of hateful thoughts. The French Parliament has moved toward a new law that would give internet companies like Facebook and Google just 24 hours to remove hateful speech from their sites or face fines of $1.4 million per violation. A final vote is expected next week. Germany passed a similar measure last year and imposed fines of $56 million.
The French and Germans have given up in trying to convince the United States to surrender its free speech protections. They realized that they do not have to because by imposing crippling penalties, major companies will be forced into censoring speech under poorly defined standards. The result could be the curtailment of the greatest invention fostering free speech in the history of the world. It is all happening without a whimper of opposition from Congress or from most civil liberties organizations.
The move by the Europeans hits in the blind spot of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment does an excellent job of preventing government action against free speech, and most of the laws curtailing free speech in Europe would be unconstitutional in the United States. However, although protected against Big Brother, we are left completely vulnerable to Little Brother, made up of the private companies that have wide discretion on curtailing and controlling speech around the world.