Twitter finally hands over details of accounts used to post racist tweets

After losing an appeal against a court order that sentenced Twitter to reveal the details of accounts used last autumn to post racist and anti-Semitic tweets, the microblogging finally gave in.
Written by Valéry Marchive, Contributor

Twitter confirmed on Friday that it had finally decided to give French authorities the details of accounts used last year to post racist and anti-Semitic tweets. Back in October, the anti-Semitic hashtag #UnBonJuif (a good Jew) had made its way onto Twitter's list of trending topics in France.

The Association of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) began legal action against the microblogging service in November, asking a Paris court to force Twitter to reveal details of the accounts that used the hashtag in order that legal action could be taken against the people behind them. Twitter lost the case in January and was ordered by the court to reveal the details of the accounts in question.

The social network subsequently decided to appeal against the ruling but to no avail, with the UEJF starting a legal process aimed at getting Twitter's appeal written off, as is permitted under French law. And, at the end of June, the Paris appeal court ruled in favour of the association, saying that Twitter had not "justified its refusal to comply with the ruling". The company was asked once again to hand over the requested account details.

In a statement quoted by the French news agency AFP, Twitter said it had given information to judicial authorities "enabling the identification of some authors" of the tweets at issue, claiming this "puts an end to the dispute" and that the company and the UEJF have "agreed to continue working actively together in order to fight racism and anti-Semitism". 

However, the association had previously started a separate legal action against the company: at the end of March, it began seeking €38.5m in compensation, which it planned to donate to the Shoah Memorial, a museum dedicated to Jewish history during the Second World War. The UEJF recently confirmed to PC Inpact that it had dropped the case.

Commenting on the news on Twitter, the French digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin expressed her satisfaction: "Twitter is cooperating with justice. End of impunity for authors of racists and anti-Semitic messages, without questioning anonymity."

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