Emmanuel Macron and the French state have been seeking for several years to regularize technology companies with regard to the payment of their taxes. This time, the French President may have succeeded, because he managed to get more than 70 bosses of technology companies to sign a manifesto of which tax fairness is an important point. The manifesto, unveiled by l’lyse on Monday, includes 8 commitments in total and is part of the “Tech for Good” initiative.”Tech for Good” is an initiative launched by the French government in 2018. Through the “Tech for Good”, the state aims to put technology at the service of the common goods to more easily achieve the sustainable development objectives defined by the Organization of United Nations. Thus, Tech for Good is a summit that has been held every year since 2018 and brings together dozens of Tech bosses, who make various commitments to the state and to the French community. The summit did not take place this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
However, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, organized an “intermediate summit” in preparation for the third Tech for Good report summit for June 2021. For the occasion, more than 70 CEOs heeded the President’s call and signed a manifesto comprising 8 commitments to the State and the French. The CEOs, for example, promised Emmanuel Macron to do more to fight against hate content on the Internet, pay their taxes in France and make their services interoperable, and many other things.
Among the 73 signatories of this text, we distinguish the bosses of Google, Facebook, Booking, Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, IBM, Ericsson, or even Oracle. For its part, France is represented by Stphane Richard (CEO of Orange), Xavier Niel (Iliad), Gilles Plisson (TF1), Jean-Laurent Bonnaf (BNP Paribas) and Jean-Paul Agon (L’Oral). In addition, French unicorns, such as BlaBlaCar and Doctolib, as well as two Asian gloves, the Chinese Huawei and the Indian Bharti, are also signatories of the manifesto unveiled on November 30.
While several American companies are in favor of supporting the French government in its initiative, there are however two significant absences. IPhone maker Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon did not answer the call. Note that the manifesto arrives only a few days before the presentation, on December 9, of the Digital Services Act of the European Union which is to define a new regulation for social media.The commitments made should lead to the creation of a more balanced market
According to a report from the daily “Les chos”, in preamble, the bosses of Tech recognize that the positive contribution of the technological and digital revolution can be hampered by negative externalities. It is for this reason that the fight against hateful and terrorist content comes first, after the assassination of Samuel Paty, claimed on Twitter by the terrorist Abdullakh Anzorov.
The hosts of Emmanuel Macron promised to sincerely support the efforts of the international community by taking  transparent, specific and technically feasible measures to prevent the posting and distribution of this type of content. They also undertake to design their products according to the principles of safety by design and privacy by design, while guaranteeing the consumer’s freedom of choice. This part of the manifesto could help to support a more balanced and more competitive market.
By way of illustration, the point previously mentioned could force Google to no longer highlight its own products / services (search engine, shopping tab), a practice condemned three times by the European Commission, and the subject of several antitrust investigations in the States -United. Another key item on the agenda was the question of taxes on technology companies, a point on which Paris and Washington are struggling to agree, France having introduced a digital tax for these companies in November and the United States which threaten to counterattack.
However, when signing the manifesto, the companies present promised to contribute fairly to the taxes of the countries in which they operate. More precisely, the latter aim to put an end to tax optimization practices which often lead them to prefer to invest in countries with more favorable taxation, such as Ireland and the Netherlands. Another term of the agreement encourages signatory companies to open up and share their data, in particular with the research world, and to ensure better interoperability of their services.
In addition to these notable points, other commitments have also been made. However, due to the characteristics of a manifesto or charter, none of them are legally binding on the signatories. According to the things, for the lyse, the text nevertheless made it possible to draw a clear line of demarcation between the signatory groups, sincere about their commitments, and those who remained outside, like Apple or Amazon who refused to sign it.
Source: The things
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