Several French political figures are wondering about their way of using Twitter since the social network was bought by billionaire Elon Musk, who is shaking up the way. Some say they are ready to leave the platform.
None of the French politicians will ever reach – and that is lucky – the frenzy with which Donald Trump used Twitter as his privileged tool when he was in the White House. However, the American social network has become a must for every elected official. Communicating about one’s action or the action of one’s camp, expressing one’s indignation on such and such a subject, clarifying one’s choices, is today a classic activity for politicians. Some also don’t hesitate to cross swords or even insult each other without nuance in 280 characters.
The boomerang effect of old tweets
Some have become masters of using this tool, from Emmanuel Macron to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, from Gérald Darmanin to Danièle Obono. But if Twitter allows you to react quickly – sometimes too quickly – it also has a terrible boomerang effect for elected officials who may find themselves confronted with embarrassing old tweets that no longer correspond to their current positioning or, on the contrary, reveal a constant thought. .
We saw it again with deputy RN Grégoire de Fournas – sanctioned by the assembly for launching “Let him return to Africa” to deputy LFI Carlos Martens Bilongo – whose old tweets showed equally sickening remarks.
“Twitter kills democracy, kills politics” for Yannick Jadot
But since Twitter was taken over by the whimsical Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and Space X, who wants to make the network a space of total freedom, without filters, and therefore potentially subject to a sharp increase in hate speech and conspiracies, several political numbers wonder if we should leave the platform. “Social networks are an attack on democracy,” said Yannick Jadot, MEP from EELV last Monday, condemning Twitter in particular.
“We had a system that, as you know, is predatory from an environmental point of view, predatory from a social point of view, but today these social networks are an attack on democracy. You have algorithms that want to amplify instability in some way, that want to amplify profanity, insults, including racist remarks or threats. You have a kind of profitability, which is the number of views. You have absolute short-sightedness. Twitter kills democracy, kills politics, with Twitter in the end it is Trump who wins” sums up Yannick Jadot.
Elon Musk will soon be heard by the European Parliament?
This concern is shared by MEP Stéphane Séjourné. The chairman of the Renew group and the general secretary of the president’s Renaissance party indicated that Renew would request the European Parliament to hear Elon Musk. “Whatever Mr. Musk chooses, our motto will remain: our continent, our choice. We need to ensure that Twitter will continue to act against misinformation and hate speech.”
Several elected representatives also question their personal use of the network. Government spokesman Olivier Véran thus wondered about the use he would make of a Musk version of Twitter in the future. “I consider it an important communication tool. The fact that this great global tool belongs to a man and that it has ambitions worries me a little, for some of them I am in any case on guard and if necessary I will take my own responsibility”, he assures, before he condemns future certification rules.
On the right, some approve of a Twitter without moderation
Elon Musk wants to pay to obtain certification of accounts that have so far kept identity theft thanks to a blue dot. “I urge them to decertify my account without delay if they think it is something that will become profitable”, launched Mr. Véran. “It will hurt me a little” to pay for a certified account, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed on his side. “The question of whether to stay on Twitter or not is a serious question,” responded PS deputy from Essonne Jérôme Guedj… on Twitter.
But Musk’s takeover of Twitter doesn’t worry some personalities on the right. LR MEP Nadine Morano believes that “Twitter must remain neutral” as Nicolas Dupont-Aignan tackles EU Commissioner Thierry Breton, who reminded that “the blue bird will fly according to our rules”. “The EU is already shaking after the takeover of Twitter. Are you afraid of freedom of speech? asks Dupont-Aignan.