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.