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French court orders Twitter to name anti-Semitic post authors

Paris (dpa) – A French court on Tuesday ordered US microblogging site Twitter to hand over information on users who posted anti-Semitic tweets so that they might face legal action.

The court in Paris granted an application by the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) and other associations demanding that Twitter reveal the identities of the authors of a series of anti-Semitic tweets.

The judge gave Twitter two weeks to give the associations information allowing them to identify the authors of those tweets that were ”manifestly illicit.”

The messages were posted last October under the #unbonjuif (a good Jew) and #unjuifmort (a dead Jew) hashtags.

The #unbonjuif hashtag quickly became a trending topic among French users of the site. Some messages openly attacked Jews.
Twitter removed some of the offending tweets at the request of UEJF.

But the association demanded that the company go further, by naming the authors so that they could be prosecuted under France’s tough laws on racism and anti-Semitism, and by putting in place a system to allow French users complain about such posts.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not have a mechanism whereby users can complain about content that incites violence or racial hatred.

Twitter’s lawyer told the court that, because the company stores user data in the United States, any order to hand over data would have to be ratified by a US court.

Twitter refuses to moderate content but does reserve the right to block posts if the tweets violate local laws. The company last year agreed to block a neo-Nazi account at the request of the German government.