Is Twitter breaking French hate-speech laws?

is twitter breaking french hate speech lawsA disturbing rash of racist tweets in France has Twitter facing government criticism and potentially legal trouble in the country, where authorities believe it may be in violation of hate-speech laws. Both parties are now said to be in ongoing discussion about how to respond to the tide of upsetting messages without stepping on users’ right to free speech, as well as their right to privacy.

The tweets in question center around a number of questionable hashtags, including #SiMonFilsEstGay, #SiMaFilleRameneUnNoir and #UnBonJuif, which translate respectively as “If My Son Was Gay,” “If My Daughter Brought Home A Black Man” and “A Good Jew,” and you can rest assured that none of these are attached to any positive tweets concerning these particular groups. There is also the hashtag #SiJetaisNazi which, yes, translates as “If I Were A Nazi.”

The French government has long argued that these messages fall afoul of the country’s laws regarding the publication of racist, bigoted or otherwise discriminatory hate speech. Last October, French courts ordered Twitter to not only delete the offensive tweets, but also hand over the personal information of those who had used the hashtags in the first place. The company complied with the first part of the legal order, but is having a bit of a problem with the second.

Twitter’s lawyer, Alexandra Neri, has told the court that Twitter cannot comply because the information on the users is held by the company in California, which means that an American court would have to compel the company to release it. “Our concern is not to violate American law in cooperating with the French justice system,” she said, explaining that the company is “not fleeing our responsibility” in refusing to share the information. “Our data is stored in the US, so we must obey the rule of law in that country.”

That isn’t enough for prominent French political figures, who have already gone on to condemn the company in the media for failing to share the information. Writing in French newspaper Le Monde, the French government’s Women’s Minister and spokewoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem appealed to the company to respect the “values of the French republic” and change its mind. Minister for the Digital Economy Fleur Pellerin told LCI TV that it was “in [Twitter’s] interest to adapt to the legal, philosophical and ethical culture of the countries in which they’re seeking to develop.”

Cars

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 
Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?
Computing

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.
Mobile

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Social Media

Like a pocketable personal stylist, Pinterest overhauls shopping tools

Pinterest shopping just got a bit better with a trio of updates now rolling out to Pinterest. The first replaces Buyable Pins with Product Pins for more features, including knowing whether or not a product is in stock.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Social Media

Twitter has sorted out those weird notifications it was sending

Twitter started churning out weird notifications of seemingly nonsensical letters and numbers to many of its users on Tuesday morning. The bizarre incident even prompted Twitter boss Jack Dorsey to get involved.
Photography

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Home Theater

Facebook might be planning a streaming box for your TV that watches you back

Facebook is reportedly working on a piece of streaming media hardware for your living room with a built-in camera for video calls, something people may not want given the company's recent controversies.