Twitter Hands Over Anti-Semitic Tweets To French Authorities

Twitter fought in court to protect user data, but ultimately the social network on Friday handed over various anti-Semitic tweets to French authorities.

The social network was sued by several Jewish and anti-racism groups over the #unbonjuic (#agoodjew) hashtag.

In early 2012, a court ordered Twitter to disclose the data, but the social network’s lawyers filed an appeal of that decision. The social network recently lost its appeal and was ordered to hand over the deleted and private user data.

On Friday, Twitter said it reached an agreement with France’s Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) regarding the anti-Semitic tweets. The UEJF was just one of the groups who sued Twitter for access to the tweets.

As part of the agreement, Twitter provided user IP and email addresses.

According to a joint statement by Twitter and the UEJF:

“Further to discussions between the Parties and in response to a valid legal request, Twitter has provided the prosecutor of Paris, Presse et Libertés Publiques section of the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance, with data that may enable the identification of certain users that the Vice-Prosecutor believes have violated French law.”

The UEJF is calling the decision and data acquisition a “big step in the fight against the feeling of impunity on the Internet.”

In the meantime, privacy experts have cried foul over the court’s decision, claiming that it deals a blow to freedom of speech and privacy.

French law strictly prohibits Holocaust denial and hate speech. Twitter lawmakers argued that, because the social network is located in the United States, it shouldn’t have to comply with those laws.

While Twitter doesn’t like to hand over user account information, the company has worked with foreign powers to stop hate speech. In October 2012, the social network blocked neo-Nazi accounts in Germany.

Do you think the court made the right decision to have Twitter hand over the tweets?