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Les Miserables: French pupils trash Hugo

Victor Hugo may be a national treasure in France, but he’s not appreciated by thousands of teens forced to write about his poems for the school leaving exam this week. In fact, they’ve taken to Twitter to bash the Les Miserables author, in the strongest terms.

Les Miserables: French pupils trash Hugo
Photo: Wikicommons, Angry Teen.

French reporters spent the week musing and fussing about country’s annual rite of passage, the taking of the high school leaving exam called the Baccalaureat. However France’s youth were having their own heated discussion on Twitter.

The kids were decidedly hacked off about having to analyze and write about Hugo’s poem called “Dusk”, which is a discussion between life, as played by a piece of grass, and death, represented by a tombstone. The students were not impressed by the 19th century writer’s musings.

“I hate my life right now. F**k. Victor Hugo, man. That bastard Victor Hugo,” wrote @michansakuraba. While @mrhenri18 wrote “F**K YOUR MOTHER VICTOR HUGO”

One chuckling observer collected a selection of the tweets, which he then retweeted, with the comment: “The créme de la créme of Education National pay homage to Victor Hugo after the French Bac.”

The abuse didn't get anyone too excited as it was just students letting off steam after what was probably the most important test of their lives thus far. Not succeeding on the Bac can be a curse in a modern France where education is a byword for professional success.

Hugo may have even been proud of the online walloping he received. He was also not a big fan of the Bac. In fact, Slate dug up a passage from the author in which he trashed the age old French test.

“The masterpieces recommended for the Baccalaureat, the compliments in verse or in prose…all that, though the official and public education is saturated and filled with it, is the past.”

But not every student found Hugo annoying. He's got at least one fan of the teenage Bac takers. @Sorciermarocain wrote "We struggle we stuggle but victor hugo still had flow."

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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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