Fact Check

Did France Announce Restrictions on Internet Access During 2023 Protests?

We’ve fact-checked other claims about the 2023 French protests.

Published July 3, 2023

 (@TheLastRefuge2/Twitter)
Image Via @TheLastRefuge2/Twitter
Claim:
In July 2023, during protests over the police shooting of a teenager, France announced it was restricting internet access.

In July 2023, claims began to spread on social media platforms that France had restricted "all internet access" across the country. The claim began to spread as people across the country protested the deadly police shooting of a 17-year-old in a suburb of Paris. 

"BREAKING: FRANCE TO RESTRICT ALL INTERNET ACCESS STARTING TONIGHT," Twitter account @NewsForYouUS posted on July 2, 2023. 

Attached to the tweet was a supposed news release from the Ministry of the Interior announcing that "temporary restrictions" would be applied to internet access in "specific neighborhoods" during the night. (The letter was originally written in French. We translated using Google Translate.) 

We also found posts with the supposed mews release on other social media platforms, like TikTok and Facebook, in addition to unrelated Twitter posts.

The news release wasn't real. The Interior Ministry's Twitter account posted that the document was fake and that no decision had been made about restricting internet access as of July 2, 2023. (The tweet was originally written in French. We translated it using the platform's translate feature.)

We reached out to the French Interior Ministry and will update this fact-check if we hear back.

The Twitter account of France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs also tweeted about the claim on July 3, 2022, stating it was fake. 

We checked the website of the Interior Ministry and found no news release that addressed restricting internet access in France. At the time of publication, the last news release from the ministry was posted on June 30, 2023, about the French interior minister and digital minister meeting with representatives of various social media platforms. (The news release was originally written in French. We translated it using Google Translate.)

There were other indicators that the release wasn't real. When we downloaded real news releases from the official website of the French interior ministry, we found the dates on the releases were written with the month spelled out. However, the date on the fake release was written fully numerically.

We've fact-checked other claims about the 2023 French protests, including a miscaptioned video of a French Apple store being looted.

Sources

Anna, Cara et al. "Grandmother of French Teen Shot Dead by Police Officer Pleads with Rioters to Stop the Violence." AP News, 2 July 2023, https://apnews.com/article/france-riots-police-shooting-6572afbd85e56f63c476228016b365f5.

"https://twitter.com/francediplo_EN/status/1675796255119753216." Twitter, https://twitter.com/francediplo_EN/status/1675796255119753216. Accessed 3 July 2023.

"https://twitter.com/interieur_Gouv/status/1675427851007295488." Twitter, https://twitter.com/Interieur_Gouv/status/1675427851007295488. Accessed 3 July 2023.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Does This Video Show a French Apple Store Being Looted in June 2023?" Snopes, 30 June 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/apple-store-france-looting/.

Lutte contre les appels à la violence et à la haine en ligne : Gérald Darmanin et Jean-Noël Barrot réunissent les plateformes de réseaux sociaux à Beauvau | Ministère de l'Intérieur et des Outre-mer. https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/actualites/actualites-du-ministere/lutte-contre-appels-a-violence-et-a-haine-en-ligne-gerald. Accessed 3 July 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

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