A victory against anti-Semitic tweets in France

Tweeter announces it is removing the offending "good Jew" tweets under “trending tropics.”

By JOSEPH STRICH
October 21, 2012 03:56
1 minute read.
Twitter Homepage

Twitter 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Twitter homepage)

It all started 10 days ago, when a wave of French-language anti-Semitic posts on Twitter morphed into an explosion in the use of the hashtag #unbonjuif (#A GoodJew) to spread anti-Jewish jokes online.

By October 10, the hashtag was the third most popular tagged subject on the site in France). The deluge of offensive posts continued for days.

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SOS Racisme and the UEJF (the Union of French Jewish Students) decided to look into legal options to target the authors of the thousands of tweets and possibly Tweeter itself.

Guillaume Ayne, the director of SOS Racisme, told France 24 TV last week: “There is a deep-rooted anti-Semitism in France, and there is a very small step between racist words and racist acts... We have to tell people that just because they are sitting behind a computer they can’t assume they’ll get away with making racist comments.”

Jonathan Hayoun, president of the UEJF, said: “Twitter can’t become a zone where people behave with impunity.” On Tuesday his organization lodged a court complaint with a demand that Twitter removes references to the hashtag and provide the IP addresses of offenders.

The UEJF then contacted contacted Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, to no avail.

According to the students’ lawyer, they were “not taken seriously.”



“Twitter didn’t understand the deepness of racism and anti-Semitism in France,” Hayoun told the media, while citing the recent Toulouse and Sarcelles attacks (three Jews murdered in the first one last March, one wounded in the second last month). “If nothing is done we will sue the boss of Twitter, Dick Costolo, in Paris court,” he warned.

On Friday, Tweeter announced it was removing the offending tweets under “trending tropics.”

“An important victory,” the lawyer for UEJF said. He said he would ask the court to sanction the authors of the anti-Semitic messages.


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