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ANTI-SEMITISM

‘Abject act’: Anti-semitic graffiti on apartment door shocks Paris

Anti-semitic graffiti reading "Jewish scum live here", that was scrawled on the door of a Paris apartment building has caused shock and anger in the French capital and led to the police launching an investigation.

French police said Thursday they had launched an investigation after anti-semitic graffiti was scrawled on the door of a Paris apartment building.
 
“Jewish scum live here,” read the graffiti, on a building in the 18th arrondissement in the north of the capital. “Notably on the third floor,” it added on the other side of the door, above a drawing of a target.
 
A photo of the graffiti was circulating on Twitter Thursday, and a woman living in the building filed a formal complaint with the police.
   
By the end of the day, the local council had cleared the graffiti away, but traces were still visible on the door Thursday afternoon, an AFP journalist noted.
 
 
Journalist at Liberation Marie Ottavi shared an image of the door on Twitter with the words: “Here we are in 2018, rue Ordener in Paris and we are living a nightmare”. 
 
   
The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo took to Twitter to condemn what she described as “this abject act” and sent her support to the Jewish community.
   
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the France Unbowed party, was also quick to condemn the incident.
   
“The thugs guilty of such acts must be found and severely punished,” he wrote on Twitter.

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COURT

French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts

A French court has ordered Twitter to give activists full access to all its documents relating to efforts to combat racism, sexism and other forms of hate speech on the social network.

French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts
Photo: Alastair Pike | AFP

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 Paris court ordered Twitter to grant the campaign groups full access to all documents relating to the company’s efforts to combat hate speech since May 2020. The ruling applies to Twitter’s global operation, not just France.

Twitter must hand over “all administrative, contractual, technical or commercial documents” detailing the resources it has assigned to fighting homophobic, racist and sexist discourse on the site, as well as “condoning crimes against humanity”.

The San Francisco-based company was given two months to comply with the ruling, which also said it must reveal how many moderators it employs in France to examine posts flagged as hateful, and data on the posts they process.

The ruling was welcomed by the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF), one of the groups that had taken the social media giant to court.

“Twitter will finally have to take responsibility, stop equivocating and put ethics before profit and international expansion,” the UEJF said in a statement on its website.

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 businesses 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.

French prosecutors on Tuesday said they have opened an investigation into a wave of racist comments posted on Twitter aimed at members of the country’s national football team.

The comments, notably targeting Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, were posted after France was eliminated from the Euro 2020 tournament last week.

France has also been having a wider public debate over how to balance the right to free speech with preventing hate speech, in the wake of the controversial case of a teenager known as Mila.

The 18-year-old sparked a furore last year when her videos, criticising Islam in vulgar terms, went viral on social media.

Thirteen people are on trial accused of subjecting her to such vicious harassment that she was forced to leave school and was placed under police protection.

While President Emmanuel Macron is among those who have defended her right to blaspheme, left-wing critics say her original remarks amounted to hate speech against Muslims.

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