French Jewish Students Union UEJF has filed summons against Twitter, asking the startup to hand over identities of users who posted anti-Semitic and racist tweets last October, France Info reports.
As you may remember, user-generated hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodJew in French) had generated a flurry of tweets that could be qualified as hate speech, causing outrage in France. Incitement to racial hatred is a criminal offence in the country, and associations such as UEJF play a role in reporting violations to the authorities while calling for offenders to be prosecuted.
With legal action in mind, UEJF kept a record of the most potentially litigious tweets, included other offending messages posted under the hashtag #unbonmusulman (#agoodMuslim), and handed the list over to Twitter during a meeting with its legal representatives.
At the time, the company agreed to remove those tweets without a court injunction, a victory the UEJF celebrated. Still, the union wants authors to be prosecuted, which led it to file summons against Twitter today to get the company reveal those users’ identities.
According to Le Figaro, a court audience is scheduled for January 8th 2013. UEJF is also asking French judges to order Twitter to implement a tool that lets users report illegal tweets as defined by French law.
It remains to be seen whether the company will comply, and it is doubtful it will do so without a court order. Earlier this year, it had clarified its stance on free speech and content removal requests, explaining that it would start withholding tweets in certain countries when required to do so. We have reached out to Twitter and will update this post accordingly.
Image credit: JOEL SAGET / AFP / Getty Images
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