Hiding Behind a Hashtag: #hatespeech or #freespeech - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Hiding Behind a Hashtag: #hatespeech or #freespeech

Hiding Behind a Hashtag: #hatespeech or #freespeech

Twitter is being sued in a French court for refusing to reveal the identity of those using a controversial hashtag, #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”), in October 2012.  The plaintiff in the case is the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF).  The current suit stems from an earlier case, where a French court ruled that Twitter must hand over the details of people who tweeted racist and anti-Semitic remarks.  Twitter ignored that ruling, and therefore the UEJF is suing for €38.5 million ($49.98 million).  Twitter maintains that it is based in the U.S. and therefore has First Amendment protection against an order to reveal the “tweeters” identities.  Twitter has a country withheld content feature which it uses to block neo-Nazi content from German viewers.  However, as of the time of this post, Twitter has not done the same in France for racist and/or anti-Semitic tweets.

Anish Jain