A French court today ruled that Twitter must hand over data about users who posted racist or anti-Semitic tweets. The micro-blogging service must comply with the court’s ruling “within the framework of its French site,” the AFP reported today. “We are currently reviewing the court’s decision,” a Twitter spokesman said today. At issue are tweets posted last fall with the hashtags #UnBonJuif (a good Jew), #SiMonFilsEstGay (if my son is gay), and #SiMaFilleRamèneUnNoir (if my daughter brings home a black guy). The Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), a French advocacy group, filed a complaint that demanded Twitter remove some of the offensive tweets. The accounts in question were deactivated in October, and Twitter now has 15 days to hand over the user information or face fines of 1,000 euros per day, according to French publication Le Point. While such tweets are frowned upon in the U.S., they are protected here by the First Amendment. Countries like France and Germany, however, have laws that ban hate speech. That conundrum prompted Twitter to announce in January 2012 that it would block tweets that ran afoul of certain countries’ restrictions on speech. That resulted in backlash from users who feared the micro-blogging service would honor takedown requests from repressive regimes, but Twitter denied it would do so. The first time the company blocked content was in Oct. 2012, when it suspended access to the account of a neo-Nazi group in Germany. Twitter, however, has resisted handing over details about its users, with mixed… [Read full story]
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