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Twitter backs down on ban of French government’s voter sign-up ads

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Social media company, Twitter, on Thursday said it will allow French Government ads encouraging voters to sign up for May’s European elections after an earlier ban infuriated Paris.

The government voter registration campaign had itself become the most public victim of a new French law aimed at preventing elections being influenced by fake news and advertising from unknown sources.

Twitter said that in response to the law, passed in December, it had decided to ban all targeted advertising in France.

However, after a meeting with Junior Digital Economy Minister, Cedric O, it said it had decided to allow ads encouraging voters to go to the polls.

The French law says firms over a certain size must provide full information about any advertisers promoting political material in the run-up to elections.

They also have to say how much the advertisers paid, once the amount passes a set threshold, and informs users about how their data is used for promoting content.

France’s Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, and Culture Minister, Franck Riester, welcomed Twitter’s turnaround as a “first step”.

However, they said, their priority was that Twitter and all other relevant platforms should implement the transparency requirements set out in the December law.

The ministers argued that Twitter had decided to simply ban all political advertising in France, arguing that it could not comply with those requirements.

“Several other platforms have already put these simple obligations on transparency into effect, thus proving that they are technically feasible,’’ the ministers said in a joint statement.

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