Hate Speech

Twitter Relents to the French, Hands over User Data in Hate Speech Case

|

At least it's still legal to call them 'frogs'

Twitter had been resisting demands by the French government to fork over user data so that they can track down people who tweeted anti-Semitic comments and charge them with violations of hate speech laws there.

They've finally given in. According to The Guardian:

Twitter has handed French authorities data which could identify the users behind a spate of antisemitic tweets after a long court battle begun by anti-racism campaigners.

In a rare move, the microblogging site announced on Friday that "in response to a valid legal request" it had provided the Paris prosecutor with "data that may enable the identification of certain users that the vice-prosecutor believes have violated French law". Twitter said this gesture put an end to the long legal dispute.

In October last year, there was outrage after numerous antisemitic comments were tweeted under the hashtags #UnBonJuif (a good Jew) and #UnJuifMort (a dead Jew). When alerted to the tweets, Twitter immediately removed them.

It's not clear if the absurd $50 million civil lawsuit against Twitter by the French Union of Jewish Students will continue on or be dropped now.

Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and Reason articles. You can get the widgets here. If you have a story that would be of interest to Reason's readers please let us know by emailing the 24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories at @reason247.

Advertisement

NEXT: Feds Analyze Problem of Shattered Baseball Bats at MLB Games

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

    The Obama administration has access to every tweet now. At least the French are going after anti-Semites not just Obama’s political opponents.

    1. It does seem like the French could have saved a lot of time and money by just asking the NSA for the data in question.

    2. Anti-semites have every right to be anti-semitic. As much as you have to be anti-anti-semite.

  2. I’m sure there’s a joke about surrendering in there somewhere.

  3. It’s not clear if the absurd $50 million civil lawsuit against Twitter by the French Union of Jewish Students will continue on or be dropped now.

    Nice to see they have their priorities straight.

  4. When France finds out it’s Muslims on those tweets, they’ll defer to respecting religious beliefs.

    1. Don’t really agree. The French government despises Muslims. Most of Europe is too tolerant of hyper-fundamentalist Islam, but France actually goes the other direction, and can be down right xenophobic.

      See: French anti-veil laws.

      1. The French state is more traditionally fascistic than its neighbors. More overt xenophobia is to be expected.

      2. I remember reading something about the French colonial project starting at home and really being about solidifying French culture and then exporting that culture. The author argued that the goal was to make colonial subjects into proper Frenchmen. Their entire civilizing mission was about eradicating cultural differences and forcing people into an idealized form of Frenchness.

        1. The same could be said of many colonial groups though. The goal of the British and Spanish involved converting natives to the preferred religion. The French were actually more accepting of native customs than were the other European colonial powers because the French fur trade required Native trade partners.

          The Spanish just enslaved the native populations, interbred with them, and then sold massive plots of land to Spanish aristocrats who then used natives as slave labor. The French eradicated the cultures of natives they came in contact with far less than the Spanish did.

          The French today tend to be comically pro-France though. There are rules in France that a certain amount of music played on radio stations must be of French origin. They also have the Toubon Law which says that ALL audiovisual broadcasts be in the French language, the only exception being movies that were made in other countries. This means that something like Telemundo could never exist in France because it would be illegal to have a station that is another language.

          1. You can see some of that same attitude in Quebec (and Canada in general). There’s a certain protectionism that just has that French feel about it.

            The French in N.A. were so sure that the natives would want to assimilate there was no need desire fight them. But as they saw themselves losing ground to the more violence-prone British and Spanish they dug in their heels in the areas they dominated. The northern US colonies had more in common with the colonies north of them than the colonies to their south, but the French colonies were more concerned about losing their Frenchness to the British colonies than losing it to the British forces.

          2. And they don’t have “colonies” any more, they have “overseas departments” – as if they’re just another piece of France.

          3. France’s NA colonies are a bit different from their other colonial projects abroad. If you look at Africa and SE Asia their pattern was different than NA, but I do see your point re: NA. Rhywun’s comment dovetails with mine, the French were interested in expanding France where the British were largely interested in expanding British economic influence.

            The British were often about dropping their institutions on top of the existing power structures in any given colony (although NA is an exception here as well) and they were often less concerned with making good British citizens out of those under their rule.

          4. That exception to foreign movies is only in place because the US required it in order for France to qualify for Marshall Plan funds after WW2. All of this together is why I have no respect for France, French culture or French people in general.

            1. That exception to foreign movies is only in place because the US required it in order for France to qualify for Marshall Plan funds after WW2.

              Are you sure? The Toulon Law that this is part of was passed in 1994. I’m sure France could have removed the foreign movie clause in the intervening 70 years if it was just about the Marshall Plan money.

              1. French theaters faced heavy restrictions on Hollywood films in particular, prior to the Marshall Plan’s implementation. It seems possible that newer laws have superseded that old treaty stipulation since then. But I am sure, that a less xenophobic/protectionist French cinema industry was initially made possible by the Marshall Plan negotiations.

      3. The French typically despise semites, Muslim or otherwise. I see the hate-speech “protection” as little more than lip service hiding their traditional hate. The US does the same shit.

        You may be right that they currently despise Muslims more than Jews but there’s going to be all sorts of pressure on them to lighten up. It won’t necessarily be multi-culti-ism behind the pressure, I think there’s just going to be an attempt to prevent fanning any flames. Mali may be settled on the surface, but the coals may still be hot. Niger, Syria, Egypt, Libya…

        As long as France keeps their prosecution quiet they’ll do what they traditionally do. And once word eventually gets out on who they’re prosecuting, they’ll surrender to “tolerance”. The French are probably hoping it’s some “Frog Trash” behind the tweets so they can persecute in peace.

        1. But we all know no one is going to be more foaming at the mouth in an irrational hatred of Jews more than your average Muslim male.

    2. Muslims definitely aren’t the only anti-Semites in France. Someone said something similar when they’re anti-gay marriage protests and clashes with police there a while back, and from the videos I saw, the vast majority looked like white Frenchies

      1. damn that should say “there were” not “they’re”

  5. So there’s this American Indian gamboling down a stream in his canoe, chanting his American Indian chant, and God decides to try a little experiment. He reaches down and plucks out half of dude’s brain. Dude shakes his head a bit, then continues to gambol and chant. So God reaches down and plucks out the other half of his brain. The Indian shakes his head, then starts singing “Alouette, gentille alouette, Alouette, je te plumerai.”

  6. Fuck the slavemaking reprobates staffing the French government. Fuck them all the way to hell. What a bunch of wicked, barbarous assholes. And screw Twitter for caving in to their demands.

    Human fucking rights, Europe — how the fuck do they work?

    1. But … but … right not to be offended!

      1. Their assertion of the existence of such a right offends me, therefore they cannot assert the existence of such a right.

        1. bam!

  7. Fuck them all the way to hell.

    I see it as them doing us a favor – they’re showing us our future if we continue to throw away all our rights.

    1. Yeah, but TOP MEN don’t look at it that way.

  8. These software companies and their cousins such as “twitter” and “facebook” are on balance, cowards and sissies.

    They cave at the slightest threat, even when they have a gazillion dollars for lawyers.

    1. Twitter has been much better than every other social networking type companies. They comply with legal requests as narrowly as possible and fight requests that they find unlawful. It’s disappointing that they didn’t fight harder on this one though.

  9. In a rare move, the microblogging site announced on Friday that “in response to a valid legal request” it had provided the Paris prosecutor with “data that may enable the identification of certain users that the vice-prosecutor believes have violated French law”. Twitter said this gesture put an end to the long legal dispute.

    Ah yes, without the Rule Of Law(tm), people would be saying whatever they wanted and we can’t have that now, can we?

  10. Used to wonder what it was like to live in France and not have the basic human right of free speech. Read: “used to”

  11. Dude that guy totally knows whats going on. Wow.

    http://www.Privacy-Planet.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.