Twitter ordered to give up details of racist tweeters

Twitter ordered to give up details of racist tweeters

Summary: Twitter will have to give away data that might help identify the authors of anti-Semitic or racist tweets, as well as roll out an easily accessible notification system for users to report illegal or hateful content under a ruling by a Paris court.

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TOPICS: Legal, Privacy, EU
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Twitter appears to have lost a battle against revealing the details of users who post racist or offensive tweets.

The drama started last October, after the anti-Semitic hashtag #UnBonJuif (a good Jew) made its way into the trending topics of Twitter in France. The Association of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) began legal action against the site, asking a Paris court to force Twitter to reveal details of accounts that used the hashtag so that legal action could be taken. The UEJF also called for Twitter to roll out a more efficient notification system for users to report illegal content or hate speech so it can be removed from the site. Twitter, however, has previously claimed to be bound only by US laws rather than local ones, and would only reveal users' details if a US court ordered it to do so.

But a Paris court ruled otherwise and largely agreed with the UEJF claims. On Thursday, the court underlined that Twitter's own terms state that "international users accept they must respect all local laws concerning online conduct and acceptable content."

Thus, according to Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud, the UEJF request for Twitter to reveal some account details is "legitimate." She also mandated that the social network should "roll out, as part of its French platform" a notification system that is both "easily accessible and visible" in order to help its users notify contentious content.

Twitter has been given two weeks to comply with that ruling. Should it fail to do so, it will be fined 1,000 euros per day. The UEJF described the ruling as "excellent news."

Twitter has yet to say whether it will appeal the ruling or not. "We are studying the decision," a spokesman told French newspaper Le Monde.

Topics: Legal, Privacy, EU

Valéry Marchive

About Valéry Marchive

A graduate in networking and databases and an author of several books about Apple gear, Valéry Marchive has been covering the French IT landscape since the late 90s, both for the consumer and enterprise sectors.

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10 comments
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  • why are they regulating speech?

    If someone insults you, you consider the source and go on about your business. If someone threatens to kill you, that is different. This regulation of someone's viewpoints is getting out of hand. Soon you won't be able to say anything about someone, just look at the insults hurled on ZDnet to and from some that disagree with each other's views. They may be "fightin' words" but so what? "turn the other cheek" If people quit being insulted by words, this would be a better place to live, pray for that person, that they might learn from their mistakes.
    I disagree with the French court, it won't be long before it happens here. One can always get off Twitter or any other social media if they are targeted too much.
    dhays
  • why are they regulating speech?

    If someone insults you, you consider the source and go on about your business. If someone threatens to kill you, that is different. This regulation of someone's viewpoints is getting out of hand. Soon you won't be able to say anything about someone, just look at the insults hurled on ZDnet to and from some that disagree with each other's views. They may be "fightin' words" but so what? "turn the other cheek" If people quit being insulted by words, this would be a better place to live, pray for that person, that they might learn from their mistakes.
    I disagree with the French court, it won't be long before it happens here. One can always get off Twitter or any other social media if they are targeted too much.
    dhays
    • Not the USA with our Bill of Rights, etc.

      This is the rub with having to deal with laws of different nations. In France the freedom of speech, press, etc. is different. Here we grant right to the government to govern. France grants rights to the people and can take them away. The age of the Internet with information, systems, applications etc. does not remove the force of law in each country. Multi-national corporations have dealt with this since the first day they crossed into another country. Some companies and individuals learn the hard way.
      rjm56
    • If I'm not mistaken

      The US also has laws against "hate speech".
      The US also makes many more information "requests" from ISP's than any other western democracy.
      radleym
  • Unworkable

    With around 200 countries in the world, all with different rules and regulations, this is completely unworkable. If Twitter comply with this they will end up spending all of their time providing details to governments about everything. What if one government (upheld by their own local court) demands all details of all accounts including passwords to comply with one of their laws?
    BernieBBBBB
  • Even more unworkable

    Only the french would have the chutzpah to tell a foreign company that is not within the bounds of their country what to do. And who or what is this Jewish Students group that the French courts are falling all over themselves to give abilities to them that they would not allow foreign governments to do to their citizens?
    Putertechn
    • if the french cannot tell a foreign company

      providing services on french soil via french cables to the french residents to reveal the identity of someone who violates the law of the land, then what choice does it leave them? mandate french internet providers to block twitter? build Great Traffic Sniffer of France?

      if the company values its ability to do business in a country, online or not, it should find a way to comply with the law of that country
      vpupkin
  • French court and jewish students

    This is the problem in Europe. The jews have made every country feel guilty about WWII and the countries have passed laws where you cannot say just about anything about jews, even if it is something factual. Even if you were to say in Europe that 8 million jews died in the holocaust instead of just 6 million, you can go to jail. Writers are in jail for saying things that jews find offensive.
    It's time they get a life, and behave like regular humans or the backlash will become worse. Nobody wants to feel that another group has more rights even in your own country.
    e_ecruz
    • Jeez

      Just the kind of pu*k they are looking to trace? What is your problem hater-baiter?
      oldvices@...
      • What is your problem that your only response is name calling?

        What did he say that was so bad?
        MarkinLA