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Friday, July 12, 2013

Twitter outs users who posted anti-Semitic content

Twitter announced Friday that it had supplied French authorities with data that would help identity users who post anti-Semitic content. 

The announcement comes a month after a French court upheld a lower court’s ruling that ordered Twitter to divulge details of users who posted anti-Semitic tweets.

Twitter said in a statement that it had relayed to judicial authorities information “enabling the identification of some authors” of anti-Semitic tweets, according to AFP.

The company said the move “puts an end to the dispute” with the Union of Jewish Students in France, which had filed the request for information, and that Twitter and the UEJF had “agreed to continue to work actively together in order to fight racism and anti-Semitism.”

The UEJF first took action against Twitter last year after the hashtags #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”) and #unjuifmort (“a dead Jew”) became hugely popular because they were used in what Le Monde termed “a competition of anti-Semitic jokes.” Hashtags are labels used to index tweets on a particular topic.

In January a lower court ruling gave Twitter 15 days to comply and imposed a daily penalty of $1,300 for every day beyond that period that Twitter failed to provide the information.

Twitter appealed the ruling, however, prompting UEJF to open in March a separate procedure against Twitter at a Paris correctional tribunal for violating hate speech restrictions. 

UEJF has also been demanding that Twitter pay $50 million in compensation to organizations fighting racism in France.

Twitter argued in court that since it is an American company it adheres to US laws and is protected by the First Amendment and its broad free speech liberties. 

But the French judge in January said that comments by Internet users in France are subject to France’s stricter legislation against racist and hateful expression.

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