According to published reports, on January 8th, the Union of French Jewish Students petitioned a Paris court to order the social media giant Twitter to disclose details about users who post anti-Semitic comments.
The hearing came subsequent to a weekend of rabidly anti-Jewish posts using the using the hashtag #SiJetaisNazi, or #IfIWereANazi. On January 5th, they were ranked as one of the country’s top five trending topics. The court is expected to render a decision in the case on January 24.
In October, France’s main Jewish student organization requested that Twitter remove offending tweets that had inundated the site under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew), with examples including: “#agoodjew is a dead Jew.” The hashtag gained meteoric popularity, becoming the third most popular in France.
Angered at the hateful references to Jews, the students’ union said it would sue if Twitter did not comply with demands to have the tweets taken down. They have also asked the social media kingpin for full disclosure of pertinent details about the users that posted them.
It was reported that a representative of Twitter declined at the time to offer a direct comment on the tweets about Jews but reiterated the company’s standard response that it “does not mediate content.” According to company policy, Twitter cannot delete tweets, but does allow for suspension of accounts that generate content that is in breach of its rules or considered illegal.
Unless mandated to by a judge, Twitter also said it would not reveal details of account holders. Because of the disparities between French and American laws pertaining to speech, the American-based company has said it will only acknowledge the judgment of a US court.
The groups I Accuse! International Action for Justice, SOS Racism, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, and the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People are supporting the students’ union in the case.