The French platform for reporting illegal content online says it made nearly 10,000 reports of terrorist material this year, a figure over 200 per cent higher than last year.
The Pharos platform, an initiative of the French Interior Ministry for reporting illegal content online, from terrorism to paedophilia, claims to have sent out a total of 9,720 requests to remove terrorist content from social media platforms so far this year.
A total of 54 police and gendarmerie now work on the Pharos platform — nearly double the number from the previous year — and according to a report from the broadcaster LCI its reports have increased since the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamic radical Chechen refugee last year.
Pharos, which also works with NGOs, examines content on various platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and states that the reports this year have increased by 213 per cent overall compared to 2020.
According to the radio network France Inter, the profiles associated with the terrorist content are often flagged and sent to the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI), France’s internal intelligence agency, who are then able to identify those behind the posts.
Following the beheading of Samuel Paty a year ago in October of 2020, reports of students in schools praising terrorism soared, with 400 incidents being reported from his death to November 3rd, and a further 393 incidents from November 4th to the 30th.
Some teachers also reported that their students in the no-go suburbs of Paris openly questioned whether people should be allowed to criticise Islam. Paty himself had been killed after showing cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed to his class during a lesson on freedom of expression.
France has multiple terrorist watchlists, such as the Terrorist Radicalisation Prevention Report Index (FSRPT), which has over a thousand illegal immigrants on it as of May of this year. Foreigners make up around 20 per cent of those on the list in total, including 4,000 people with French residency.