Twitter hands over 'anti-Semitism' data

2013-07-12 14:39
Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Paris - Twitter said on Friday it had handed over data to French authorities to help identify the authors of anti-Semitic tweets, following a complaint from a Jewish students' group.

A French court in January ordered the company to provide the data after legal action by France's Union of Jewish Students (UEJF).

Twitter said in a statement that it had given information to judicial authorities "enabling the identification of some authors" of anti-Semitic tweets.

It said the move "puts an end to the dispute" with the UEJF and that the two parties had "agreed to continue to work actively together in order to fight racism and anti-Semitism".

It said the two sides would also co-operate on "measures to improve the accessibility of the procedure for notifications of illicit tweets."

The UEJF launched a civil suit against Twitter in March claiming €38.5m ($50m) in damages over the global networking site's failure to respond to the French court order. The group said it would hand over any damages won in court to the Shoah Memorial fund.

The union has been pressing Twitter to exercise tighter control following a deluge of anti-Semitic messages posted in 2012 under the hash tag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew). Twitter later removed some of the offending tweets.

President Francois Hollande had also called on Twitter to comply with the court order.

The dispute has been seen as a test case pitting the right to free expression on the internet against laws banning hate speech.

In October, Twitter suspended the account of a neo-Nazi group in Germany following a request from the government in Berlin.

That was the first time that the US firm had applied a policy known as "country-withheld content", which allows it to block an account at the request of state authorities.

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