Twitter ordered to give up details of racist tweeters

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.
Written by Valéry Marchive, Contributor

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.

Editorial standards