French Government Admits New Adult Content Law Will Target Twitter Too

French Government Admits New Adult Content Law Will Target Twitter Too

PARIS — The French government has confirmed that the new bill it introduced on Wednesday to bypass the courts and force platforms to implement age verification will apply not only to specifically adult sites but also to any site that allows explicit content, including Twitter.

As XBIZ reported, the new bill is being touted by the center-right Macron administration as an effort to “secure and regulate the digital space.”

Minister Delegate for Digital Jean-Noël Barrot announced on Sunday the government’s intention to empower online media regulator ARCOM to order, without needing to go through the courts, the blocking and delisting of adult sites that do not prevent minors from accessing their content.

Barrot — who has vowed to bring about “the end of access to pornographic sites for our children” in 2023 — said during a press conference Tuesday that ARCOM “may have to block Twitter.”

The digital minister then added that he hopes Twitter “will finally agree to comply with French law,” French tech news outlet Tech & Co. reported yesterday.

A Controversial, Vaguely Worded Law

The five most popular adult sites in France — Pornhub, Tukif, xHamster, XVideos and Xnxx — have been explicitly targeted by the government. Last month the sites presented their objections to the controversial, vaguely worded 2020 law allowing France’s online content regulator, ARCOM, to seek a blocking order to target sites “that fail to prevent minors from accessing online pornography.”

The sites’ lawyers presented requests to nullify the proceedings and order a stay of the proposed block. The tribunal then gave itself until July 7 to make a decision.

France’s age verification mandate was surreptitiously added to a hastily approved domestic violence law during an atypical and sparsely attended COVID-era session of the French Parliament in July 2020.

The tube sites’ constitutional challenge is based on the legislators’ vagueness in drafting the law. Lawyers for the tube sites have argued that compliance cannot possibly be effected until ARCOM publishes clear guidelines, something the government has conspicuously neglected to do.

For XBIZ’s coverage of the war on porn in France, click here.

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