Court orders Twitter to identify anti-Semitic users

French court orders Twitter Inc to help identify authors of anti-Semitic posts or face fines; social network under renewed pressure to combat racist, extremist messages.

By REUTERS
January 26, 2013 19:50
1 minute read.
UN OFFICIAL Khulood Badawi posted this

Anti-Israel Twitter post 390. (photo credit: Twitter screenshot)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

PARIS - A French court on Thursday ordered Twitter Inc to help identify the authors of anti-Semitic posts or face fines of 1,000 euros ($1,300) per day, as the social network firm comes under renewed pressure to combat racist and extremist messages.

The order, requested by a Jewish student union and rights groups, concerned anti-Semitic material but could open the floodgates to legal pursuit of Twitter users who post a wide range of messages deemed illegal or offensive.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"This is an excellent decision, which we hope will bring an end to the feeling of impunity that fuels the worst excesses," said Stephane Lilti, lawyer for the groups who sought the ruling.

The anti-Semitic messages started appearing last October, and have since been deleted.

The Paris court gave privately-held Twitter, whose general policy is that it does not control content posted on its network, 15 days to hand over data identifying people who have published messages judged anti-Semitic.

The court also ordered Twitter to set up a system in France that helps people draw attention to illegal content. Under French law, people found guilty of inciting racial hatred can be jailed for a year and fined.

Twitter's lawyer in France, Alexandra Neri, declined to comment.



Failure to comply would expose the firm, founded in 2006 and now boasting 140 million monthly active users worldwide, to daily fines of 1,000 euros if the groups who sought the order request it, which Lilti said they would not hesitate to do.

A rights group involved in the case was quick to point out that the injunction, while limited to a case of anti-Semitic traffic, set a precedent that could also have a wider impact.

"This marks a decisive step forward in the battle against racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic offenses on the Internet," the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) said in a statement.

"Nobody can ignore French law, not even the giants of the American digital economy." For a first time, Twitter deployed a new message-blocker in Germany last October to jam the posting of messages by a neo-Nazi group banned by police.

A tool Twitter calls "country withheld content" allows it to censor tweets considered illegal in a given country. ($1 = 0.7530 euros)

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF