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Twitter must unmask racist French twits or face $1,300-a-DAY fine

Paris court demands easier abuse report system too

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Twitter has been ordered by a tribunal in France to name the anonymous twits who tweeted anti-Semitic bile.

The social network was sued by the Union of French Jewish Students to make it to reveal the identities of those behind the vile messages, which were pulled from the website in October. Twitter said it obeyed the laws of the countries it operates in, but insisted that only a US judge could order it to squeal. The website said it resists attempts to extract users' details.

But the tribunal in Paris yesterday ruled that Twitter must hand over the information - which could include names, email addresses and IP addresses - or be fined $1,300 a day until it complied. The Grand Instance Court also ordered the site to set up an easy system for people to report offensive tweets.

“It is a major precedent and breakthrough in the attempt to balance privacy online with the need to combat hate speech,” Sacha Reingewirtz, vice-president of the students' union, told Jewish news website JTA.

Twitter told The Reg that it is "currently reviewing the court's decision". The site agreed to remove the French tweets, which circulated with an unsavoury hashtag, after the union claimed the messages breached France's strong laws on hate speech.

Twitter said that it doesn't monitor content on its network, however it will take note of reports of tweets that may be illegal or against its policies. But the court wants an easier system, specifically for Twitter.Fr, that will allow users to alert the site about any material that incites racial hatred or is apologetic for crimes against humanity. ®

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