Twitter's appeal against racist tweets case written off

At the end of January, a French court ordered Twitter to reveal the details of accounts used to post racist and anti-Semitic tweets last autumn. Twitter appealed against the ruling, but has lost that appeal.
Written by Valéry Marchive, Contributor

A French court has rejected Twitter's appeal against being forced to hand over details of its users.

The drama started last October, after the anti-Semitic hashtag #UnBonJuif (a good Jew) 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 users behind them.

Twitter lost the case earlier this year. The court largely found in favour of the UEJF, ordering the site to reveal details of the accounts at issue.  Twitter subsequently decided to appeal against the ruling – to no avail.

The UEJF began a process aimed at getting Twitter's appeal written off, as is permitted under French law, and last week the Paris appeal court ruled in favour of the association, saying Twitter did not provide an "easily accessible and visible" way to notify the company of illegal or suspicious tweets, nor "justify its refusal to comply with the ruling", and asking the company to hand over the requested account details.

Twitter has also been sentenced to pay €1,500 (£1,287) and to cover the UEJF's legal expenses. In a statement, the association welcomed the write-off of Twitter's appeal. According to Jonathan Hayoun, president of the UEJF, "French justice has hardened its tone. It confirmed that Twitter has eventually become responsible for racist and anti-Semitic content posted by its users [...]. Twitter can't toy with French justice anymore [...] and must cooperate" when ordered to in such cases, it said.

But the drama is not yet over. The association started a new legal action against the company at the end of March, seeking €38.5m in compensation, which it plans to donate to the Shoah Memorial, a museum dedicated to Jewish history during the Second World War. The first hearing in that separate case is expected in September.

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