Billionaire Behind ‘the French Fox News’ Could Torment MacronThe media

Billionaire Behind ‘the French Fox News’ Could Torment MacronThe media ambitions of French billionaire Vincent Bollore could offer a boost to conservatives in next year’s election and pose a serious hurdle for President Emmanuel Macron’s chances of reelection.

Bollore already owns a channel sometimes dubbed “the French Fox News” which helped to build a national profile for far-right columnist and potential presidential candidate Eric Zemmour. Now he is expanding his media empire with a plan to acquire Lagardere SA, which owns Europe 1 radio, the Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche and Paris Match magazine. Bollore is making the acquisition through media company Vivendi SA, which he controls.

A spokesperson for Vivendi didn’t return a request for comment.
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Read More: Bollore Sees Off Rival Billionaires to Build Publishing Giant

Bollore’s media companies have fueled discussion in France over insecurity, immigration and Islam, topics which have been seized on by the nationalist Marine Le Pen in her campaign to unseat Macron. The Lagardere deal needs to be completed by December next year and is set to face antitrust scrutiny.

“Bollore’s influence over political debates is already visible via CNews and Europe 1, and that’s likely to continue,” said Julia Cage, a professor of economics at Sciences Po in Paris who’s researched media ownership by billionaires. “All of that can happen very quickly, even before the operation is approved.”

Vivendi recently raised its stake in Lagardere and Cage says that Europe 1’s editorial stance is already shifting to highlight more right-wing concerns.

CNews, another Vivendi TV station, often invites guests — including members of Macron’s government — to discuss themes such as drug trafficking in the streets of Paris or the role of Islam in society. This week, the channel asked Zemmour to step down from his program after the French watchdog said his air time should be subject to campaign limits because he is mulling a run for president
Facebook Is Willing to Open Algorithms to Regulators, Clegg Says
Joe Light, Bloomberg News

Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications of Facebook Inc., speaks to journalists as he departs the Christchurch Call initiative, aimed to curb the promotion of violent extremism online, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. The leaders of France and New Zealand will lead a summit with representatives of major global technology companies in Paris Wednesday, as governments and Silicon Valley grapple with containing hate speech and incitement to violence on the internet.
Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications of Facebook Inc., speaks to journalists as he departs the Christchurch Call initiative, aimed to curb the promotion of violent extremism online, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. The leaders of France and New Zealand will lead a summit with representatives of major global technology companies in Paris Wednesday, as governments and Silicon Valley grapple with containing hate speech and incitement to violence on the internet. , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Facebook’s chief spokesman said the company is willing to subject itself to greater oversight to ensure its algorithms are performing as intended and aren’t harming users.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, defended the company’s business practices against accusations from a whistle-blower that it had put profits ahead of users’ well-being.

The algorithms “should be held to account, if necessary by regulation so that people can match what our systems say they’re supposed to do from what actually happens,” Clegg said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” one of three U.S. news-show appearances on Sunday.

Clegg also said the Facebook is open to changing a 1996 provision of U.S. law that insulates companies from liability for what users post. Facebook is open to limiting those protections, “contingent on them applying the systems and their policies as they’re supposed to,” he said.

Last week, Frances Haugen, a former product manager for Facebook, told a panel of the Senate Commerce Committee that the company’s pursuit of profits stoked division and harmed the mental health of young users. Her testimony came on the heels of a series of stories by the Wall Street Journal, based on internal Facebook research that Haugen had shared. Haugen had also sent information to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The testimony gave momentum to recent efforts by lawmakers to pass legislation to more heavily regulate the social-media giant. Lawmakers are considering bills that would, among other things, limit protections for such companies against being sued and increase user-privacy protections.

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