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French Jewish student group to sue Twitter CEO

A Jewish student group has announced it was taking further legal action against Twitter over the global networking site's failure to respond to a French court order to hand over data to help identify the authors of anti-Semitic tweets.

French Jewish student group to sue Twitter CEO
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"Twitter is playing the indifference card in not respecting the decision of January 24," when a Paris civil court gave the company two weeks to hand over the requested information, said Jonathan Hayoun, president of France's Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), on Wednesday.

"In protecting the anonymity of the author of these tweets it is making itself an accomplice and offering a highway for racists and anti-Semites," he added.

The French Jewish students group said it was taking legal action against Twitter and its CEO Dick Costolo.

The association is claiming 38.5 million euros ($50 million) in damages which they would hand over to the Shoah Memorial fund, according to the text of the summons for Twitter to appear before the civil court's criminal division.

UEJF lawyer Stephane Lilti said the group had filed the summons on Wednesday.

Questioned by AFP, Twitter said it was in discussions with the Jewish student group but that "unfortunately they are more interested in these grand gestures than in finding an adequate international procedure to obtain the requested information."

"We will appeal tomorrow (Thursday)" to the French court, Twitter said in reference to the January 24 decision.

It added that the French court had only notified it of the earlier ruling "a few days ago."

On Sunday French President Hollande called for the names of the authors of the anti-Semitic tweets to be released, in line with the court's decisio

The union had been pressing Twitter to exercise tighter control of what appeared on its Internet site following a deluge of anti-Semitic messages posted under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew)

Twitter later removed some of the offending tweets.

Last October, Twitter suspended the account of a neo-Nazi group in Germany following a request from the government in Berlin.

That was the first time that the US firm had applied a policy known as "country-withheld content", which allows it to block an account at the request of state authorities.

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DISCRIMINATION

Twitter appeals French court ruling on hate speech transparency

Twitter has appealed a French court decision that ordered it to give activists full access to all of its relevant documents on efforts to fight hate speech, lawyers and a judicial source said on Saturday.

Twitter appeals French court ruling on hate speech transparency
The Twitter logo is seen on a phone. Twitter has appealed a French court judgement requiring it to share documents with activist groups. Photo: Alastair Pike / AFP

In July, a French court ordered Twitter to grant six French anti-discrimination groups full access to all documents relating to the
company’s efforts to combat hate speech since May 2020. The ruling applied to Twitter’s global operation, not just France.

Twitter has appealed the decision and a hearing has been set for December 9, 2021, a judicial source told AFP, confirming information released by the groups’ lawyers.

Twitter and its lawyers declined to comment.

The July order said that Twitter must hand over “all administrative, contractual, technical or commercial documents” detailing the resources it has assigned to fight homophobic, racist and sexist discourse on the site, as well as the offence of “condoning crimes against humanity”.

It also said Twitter must reveal how many moderators it employs in France to examine posts flagged as hateful, and data on the posts they process.

READ ALSO: French court orders Twitter to change smallprint over ‘abusive’ methods

The July ruling gave the San Francisco-based company two months to comply. Twitter can ask for a suspension pending the appeal.

The six anti-discrimination groups had taken Twitter to court in France last year, accusing the US social media giant of “long-term and persistent” failures in blocking hateful comments from the site.

The groups campaign against homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism. Twitter’s hateful conduct policy bans users from promoting violence or threatening or attacking people based on their race, religion, gender identity or disability, among other forms of discrimination.

Like other social media giants it allows users to report posts they believe are hateful, and employs moderators to vet the content.

But anti-discrimination groups have long complained that holes in the policy allow hateful comments to stay online in many cases.

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