Home Projects Publications Be'chol Lashon About IJCR Donate
 Donate to IJCR
        Oct-Nov 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        March 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        July/August 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        January 2009
        November 2008
        July 2008
        March 2008
        January 2008
        November 2007
        August 2007
Bookmark and Share

<< Newsletter

Lord Sacks

Bookmark and Share

Twitter agrees to pull anti-Semitic, racist posts after French lawsuit threat, group says

By Lori Hinnant, Associated Press
October 19, 2012

Twitter agreed to pull racist and anti-Semitic tweets under a pair of French hash tags after a Jewish group threatened to sue the social network for running afoul of national laws against hate speech, the organization said. The decision came a day after Twitter bowed to German law and blocked an account of a banned neo-Nazi group there.

The freewheeling social network is increasingly running up against European anti-discrimination laws, many of which date to the aftermath of the Holocaust by governments that acknowledged the contribution of years of hate speech to the Nazi attempt to annihilate the Jews. Friday’s action, which was not carried out immediately, would mark a dramatic new stage for the company that has famously refused efforts to police its millions of users.

“Twitter does not mediate content,” the company said in a statement. “If we are alerted to content that may be in violation of our terms of service, we will investigate each report and respond according to the policies and procedures outlined in our support pages.”

The company’s policies require international users to comply with local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content.

The French Union of Jewish Students, which planned to supply Twitter with a list of the offensive tweets to be pulled, said it would still file a formal complaint against the social network to bring the tweeters to justice. The union held a conference call Thursday night with Twitter executives in California.

The anti-Semitic tweets in French, which started Oct. 10, included slurs and photos evoking the Holocaust, including one of a pile of ash and another of an emaciated Holocaust victim. They were followed by offensive, anti-Muslim tweets.

On Thursday, Twitter blocked the neo-Nazi’s account in Germany, although its tweets were still visible to any user whose settings include a different location. The French-language tweets came from hundreds of users, not all of them necessarily in France.

Almost immediately after the French group announced its agreement with Twitter, tweets went up against what some users saw as an attack on freedom of expression — all using the hash tag that started the wave of racist posts on Oct. 10.

Elie Petit, vice president of the group, dismissed the criticism: “I don’t think a call for murder is freedom of expression,” he said.

French law forbids all discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.

German law is more specific. Because of its Nazi past, the country has strict laws prohibiting the use of related symbols and slogans — like the display of the swastika, or saying “heil Hitler.”

After the decision in Germany on Thursday, Twitter’s general counsel Alex Macgillivray said in a tweet that the site’s administrators “never want to withhold content, good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently.”

In a statement, Jonathan Hayoun, the French group’s president, said the group wasn’t trying to be the “garbage collectors of the Internet.”

But, he added, “Twitter can’t be a place of illegal expression.”

Original Article

Home | Projects | Publications | Be’chol Lashon | Media | About IJCR | Donate