Wednesday, July 07, 2021

French Jewish Students Cheer ‘Landmark’ Win Against Twitter to Force Look at Hate Speech Efforts 

After a yearlong legal battle, French Jewish student groups cheered a Tuesday court ruling that ordered Twitter to hand over all of its documents regarding efforts to fight hate speech on the platform.

"Justice applies here, on Twitter, everywhere and anywhere," commented Noémie Madar, president of the UEJF French Jewish student association, which had joined five other anti-discrimination groups in taking the social media company to court.

"How many moderators are there? How are they trained? How many reports from users that are considered objectively discriminatory does Twitter forward to the courts?" Madar said, outlining questions to which the company must provide hard answers.

"In the face of hatred, responsibility is twofold," Madar said. "That of the authors, those who threaten, insult and abuse. And that of the [large tech companies] who often make hate their business and who still think that their law is superior to the French legal standard."

Twitter was given two months to provide the detailed information, and a company spokesperson told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday that it was reviewing the decision.

"Our absolute priority is to assure the security of people using our platform," the company said. "We commit to building a safer internet, to combatting online hate and to improving the serenity of public discourse."

Along with the UEJF, the original May 2020 legal complaint was filed by the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra), SOS Racisme, SOS Homophobie, J'accuse, and MRAP. It charged Twitter with a "long and persistent" failure to properly moderate online content, the AFP said.

The court Tuesday found that there was evidence Twitter had indeed neglected to remove antisemitic, racist, and and homophobic content in a timely manner.

Alain Jakubowicz, an honorary president Licra, called the ruling a "splendid victory, obtained with great difficulty, which honors the tireless work of universalist anti-racist associations."


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