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Twitter forced to identify anti-Semetic users in France

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Twitter, in comparison to Facebook and Google, has steadfastly been in favor of its users’ privacy rights. Despite threats from authorities, Twitter has on few occasions relented and been forced to hand over user data. But such a time has come again for Twitter, according to the AFP. A French court has ruled that Twitter unveil the handlers of accounts that publish racist or anti-semitic tweets.

The case, stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) in France was the ground for deliberating the legalities of racist and anti-semetic tweets that may have been breaking French law. The lawsuit against Twitter for failure to censor tweets outraged the Union of Jewish Students when Twitter users were tweeting the hashtag #unbonjuif, which is directly translated to “a good jew” in French.

To expose and prosecute the culprits of the perceived anti-semitic tweets, the Union of Jewish Students requested the personal information of those responsible for these tweets. In France, racist remarks are considered to be a criminal offense and can be prosecuted in French court. But Twitter at the time was unwilling to deliver what the UEJF wanted. Twitter did however remove the offending tweets, but the move didn’t satisify the UEJF.

The presiding judge argued, in supporting his decision, that since Twitter’s French branch was operating out of France, Twitter must provide the requested data “within the framework of its French site.” The UEJF has been granted access to the personally identifiable information of the offending Twitter users, and Twitter has 15 days to supply the data, with a penalty of €1,000 ($1337.70 USD) for each day it’s late on delivering the information.

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