France Wants Twitter to Unmask Racist Tweeters

January 26th, 2013 at 3:12 am

A French court demanded Twitter on Thursday to identify the users who had posted anti-Semitic and racist tweets on its social network. While Twitter has yet it would review its legal options, it is unlikely the social network will comply.

The court order came through a lawsuit filed by several France-based organizations who claim the Twitter postings, which were under pseudonyms, violated French law against racist speech. Twitter previously stated that it cannot reveal the identity of these users except in response to a valid court order in the United States, where its servers are located. The social networking site has already blocked some of the tweets at issue from its French site, in keeping with its company policy of removing posts in territories where they violate the law.

In remains uncertain whether French prosecutors will take their case across the pond and request for an American court order, a process that could take months based on mutual legal assistance treaty. They also face another legal obstacle as Twitter does not have an office in France.

The case has re-raised questions on freedom of speech on the Internet and which country’s laws have jurisdiction over online content. In October, Twitter complied to a request of the German government and blocked users in Germany from accessing the account of a neo-Nazi group that was banned in the country.

Source: New York Times

Photo credit: Annette Shaff/


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