French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered the national government to block Google and Facebook “illegal search engine” services.
The measures come as France seeks to clamp down on online censorship, as well as on online speech that could be considered illegal or even illegal.
The new measures, which include a ban on all searches on Facebook and Google and a ban from all search results on YouTube, were adopted in a decree to address the growing online threats from “illegal sources” and “extremist content.”
French President François Hollande has vowed to crack down on hate speech online and has also made a concerted effort to crackdown on foreign meddling in French politics.
Facebook and Twitter have been among the main platforms for spreading disinformation about the Paris attacks, with both companies losing millions of users over the last two years.
French police said Wednesday that they had seized computers, smartphones and other devices connected to a group that is suspected of being behind the Paris shootings.
Facebook has been blocked in France, while Google and Twitter were forced to block access to YouTube in the country in December.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to block extremist content on his social network and the social network’s French sister company Twitter has been fined over the same issue.
The latest moves are part of an effort by France to tackle rising internet censorship.
Last month, a bill banning websites and search engines from offering “foreign or terrorist content” was passed, and the French government is also mulling a bill that would outlaw the use of social media sites in the fight against terrorism.
“We’re not here to defend Google and YouTube,” Mr. Macron told a news conference Wednesday.
“But there is a need for an effective response to the threat of illegal search engines, as there are people who try to control information and incite hatred and intolerance on the internet.”
Google, which has offices in France and has the largest global user base, has been the target of a slew of online protests, including an online petition that garnered more than 12 million signatures calling on the company to remove its name from search results.