Surprise meeting with Elon Musk in New Orleans

Emmanuel Macron claimed to have had a “clear and sincere discussion” in New Orleans on Friday with the new head of Twitter Elon Musk and insisted the social network is making “efforts” in terms of transparency and “reinforcing content moderation”.

In a series of tweets, the French president also said he had discussed with the founder of Tesla “future green industrial projects, such as the production of electric vehicles and batteries”, without further details. In response, Elon Musk said “impatient” about “exciting projects in France”, without elaborating on them further.

“I’m talking about it here, on Twitter, because that’s what it’s about. This afternoon I met Elon Musk and we had a clear and sincere discussion,” Emmanuel Macron wrote in French and English.

Christchurch call

The meeting, which lasted an hour, was not previously announced by the Elysée and was kept away from the media. “Elon Musk has confirmed Twitter’s participation in the Christchurch Call. Terrorist and violent content has no place anywhere”, stated the French president, referring to an initiative launched by several states and NGOs in 2019 after the massacre in Christchurch in New Zealand, whose images remained available online for several hours.

The richest man in the world, who is already the boss of Tesla and SpaceX (space shuttles), bought the influential platform at the end of October for 44 billion dollars. Its absolutist view of free speech worries many users, authorities and advertisers, who fear a wave of hate and misinformation. Elon Musk originally promised a content moderation board responsible for all major decisions.

He finally decided to restore many accounts, starting with former US President Donald Trump’s, which were banned after the attack on Capitol Hill in January 2021. He also put an end to the fight against false information related to Covid, which is a “big problem”, according to Emmanuel Macron.

“I think we should tackle the subject head-on, I am in favor of the exact opposite, more regulation. We do it (in France, editor’s note) and we do it on a European level,” he said on Thursday during an interview with the ABC channel.

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