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May 31, 2020

France says Twitter would be welcome if it decides to leave U.S.

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Twitter Inc. would be welcome to move to France should the social-media platform face an adverse operating environment in the U.S., French Junior Digital-Affairs Minister Cedric O said in an interview with Radio J on Sunday.

“If Twitter would consider at some point that the U.S. circumstances would no longer allow the company to develop according to its values, and to continue to expand, and if there would be too much instability for various reasons, the company would obviously be welcome in Europe, and particularly in France,” O said.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that seeks to limit liability protections for social-media companies after Twitter began selective fact checks of his posts on the platform. Twitter labelled two of the president’s posts about mail-in voting “potentially misleading” and provided links to news coverage of his comments.

Embedded Image
Fact-checked labels are applied to tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump on laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Bloomberg/Andrew Harrer

Trump has accused the social media company of censorship and election interference and threatened to possibly shut down the service.

France’s digital affairs minister said he hasn’t been in touch with Twitter, though he said France would be “extremely happy” to welcome the company. But he said, “I don’t think we’re there yet.”

He extended an invitation to entrepreneurs and researchers in the U.S. looking for a technology- and business-friendly home, touting Europe and France as open to a “certain idea of the Internet and its regulation, a more humane and fair Internet.”

“To all those entrepreneurs I say, welcome to France, come over.”