In a bid to counter the spread of extremist ideology through the Internet, the French government on Friday asked internet giants Facebook, Google and Twitter to remove online terrorist propaganda when notified by law enforcement agencies. The request was reportedly made by French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve during a one-day visit to San Francisco, where he met with representatives from the U.S. tech firms.
“Today, 90 percent of those who commit terrorist acts in the European Union do so after attending radical websites,” Cazeneuve was quoted by France Soir, according to Sputnik News.
"We emphasized that when an investigation is underway we don't want to go through the usual government to government channels, which can take so long," Cazeneuve reportedly said. “It's important to have full cooperation and quick reaction.”
Cazeneuve reportedly said that Friday's meeting was part of an effort by the French government to build a strong relationship with the tech companies.
"I told them we can figure this out together, we can come up with counterterrorism speech and block these sites that are enticing the most vulnerable members of our society to commit terrorist acts," Cazeneuve said, according to The Associated Press (AP).
A spokesperson for Facebook told AP that the company was working "aggressively" to ensure that the social media website did not become a platform for extremists, by removing any content that "praises or supports terrorism."
"We regularly host ministers and other governmental officials from across the world at Facebook, and were happy to welcome Mr. Cazeneuve today," the unnamed spokesperson reportedly said.
The comments from Cazeneuve come just over a month after a series of attacks in Paris claimed the lives of 20 people, including three militants. French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket were attacked by gunmen, allegedly affiliated with al Qaeda, in January. The attackers, including the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, were killed after a massive manhunt.