Below is Bitche Mayor Benoît Kieffer’s full statement translated from French.
Facebook had censored our City of Bitche page.
We have appealed and tried to contact Facebook in a number of ways, including through contact forms and private messages on the Facebook France page.
On March 19, Facebook informed us that our page “City of Bitche” was no longer published because it “violates the regulations applicable to Facebook pages”.
The city’s Facebook page was hosted in a data center in Europe. We hypothetically assume that our site has been migrated to an Anglo-Saxon server where moderation and algorithms have been set up to remove illegal and problematic content.
The name of our city seemed to be misinterpreted.
I accept that Facebook will put locks, police, comply with regulations especially the European Union, which intends to domesticate GAFA and better monitor practices in application of the Regulation on the European Digital Services Act of 2020.
That Facebook makes commitments, takes responsibility, justifies its content and today plays its role as moderator and regulator of its social network.
What happened to the town of Bitche shows the inadequacy and limitations of moderation tools that only a human eye can see, especially when it comes to reviewing sources.
The amazing thing is that it took so long and it took Facebook so long to correct this incident.
The CEO of Facebook France has just contacted me personally to let me know that the page has been republished for the city of Bitche and to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Today I am sending two invitations:
– The first to the Facebook institution: transparency, but also the obligation to be an intelligent and fair instrument
– Secondly, I humbly address to Mr Mark ZUCKERBERG and to Mr President-General of Facebook France, whom I would like to welcome to Bitche together with my fellow citizens, so that they can discover our pretty fortified city illustrated several times in history, but also in honor along with them the memory of compatriots and of our American friends who came under the banner of the 100th Infantry Division, Free our city from South Carolina. our liberators who are then themselves proudly called the “Sons of Bitche”
Maire de Bitche