Twitter sued for $50 million for not naming authors of anti-Semitic tweets

(JTA) — The Union of Jewish French Students sued Twitter for about $50 million for failing to honor a court ruling to identify users who posted anti-Semitic hate speech.

The union, or UEJF,  filed the lawsuit on Wednesday with a Paris correctional tribunal, according to the French news agency AFP.

UEJF President Jonathan Hayoun said his organization filed the lawsuit because the California-based website has “ignored” a civil court ruling from Jan. 24 that Twitter must identify people who broke France’s laws against hate speech. The ruling came following an earlier UEJF lawsuit.

As an American company, Twitter argued in court that it adheres to U.S. laws and is protected by the First Amendment and its broad free speech liberties. But the French judge said that comments by Internet users in France are subject to France’s stricter legislation against racist and hateful expression.

“Twitter is playing the indifference card and does not respect the ruling,” Hayoun told AFP on Wednesday. “They have resolved to protect the anonymity of the authors of these tweets and have made themselves accomplices to racists and anti-Semites.”

UEJF sued Twitter last year shortly after the hashtag “unBonJuif,” French for “aGoodJew,” became the third most popular on French Twitter. A hashtag is a phrase that when preceded by the symbol # is used to index relevant tweets.

Many users posted Holocaust jokes and calls to kill Jews under #UnBoJuif.

UEJF said it wants to deposit any damages from a Twitter suit with an organization working to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, AFP reported.

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