French President Emmanuel Macron has launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory to protect children from potential online threats and cyberbullying by monitoring harmful content.
The initiative comes alongside Macron’s re-election campaign, pushing for increased age verification on adult websites and social media networks to keep minors safe from predators, cyberbullying, and other threats to their mental and social wellbeing.
“The digital space cannot be a place of lawlessness. It is the fight that we have led against terrorism, that we are leading against online hate speech. This is what we must pursue in terms of the protection of our children,” Macron stated at a roundtable in Paris.
Macron has been pushing for child safety reform throughout his presidency; he called for action on the topic with UNICEF last year and has advocated for reform on online age authentication in France.
Macron announced that Estonia, New Zealand, Amazon, Dailymotion, Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet, Snap, TikTok, and Qwant have all joined France in support of the initiative.
Macron also Tweeted at the controversial new Twitter CEO, Elon Musk, asking “Will the bird protect our children?”
The charter is modelled after the Christchurch Call that Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern designed to limit the spread of terrorist content online.
European governments are aiming to make the online space safer, as in recent years the UK has been bolstering its Online Safety Bill which is committed to making the UK the safest place to be online while defending freedom of expression.