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French Court Orders Twitter to Identify Anti-Semites

The massive social networking site may be fined $200,000 in penalties

By: Daniel Koren
Published: June 14th, 2013 in News » World
Twitter

The Paris Court of Appeals upheld a January 24th ruling Wednesday that ordered Twitter to provide information to France's Union of Jewish Students and four other human rights organizations that filed a complaint against the social networking giant last November for publishing anti-Semitic content.

The Court of Appeals upholding of the lower court ruling means that Twitter must now divulge details of the members who originated said comments.

The ruling gives Twitter fifteen days to comply, with a daily penalty of $1300 to be added for every day beyond that. Online magazine PC INpact estimated that the judge's decision could cost Twitter upwards to $200,000 in penalties.

“This ruling is another step toward making Twitter answerable for its ongoing refusal to comply with France’s laws on hate speech,” Jonathan Hayoun, President of the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) told JTA. “Unfortunately, there has been no progress or cooperation by Twitter so far.”

The UEJF had first condemned Twitter after two vulgar and anti-Semitic hashtags were becoming widely popular in France: #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”) and #unjuifmort (“a dead Jew”).

Twitter had appealed the first ruling in January, arguing in court that as an American company it only requires to adhere to American laws and is protected by freedom of speech. However, the French judge confirmed that comments by French users online are subject to France's strict laws on racism and discrimination.

UEJF has requested that Twitter pay $50 million as compensation to organizations fighting racism in France.

Related articles: Twitter, France, anti-Semitism, Paris Court of Appeals
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