Twitter has handed over data to help in the identification of who posted anti-Semitic tweets on the network’s French service last October. Twitter waged a legal battle to avoid giving up the data, but lost an appeal last month and has now settled with the groups that brought legal action.
France’s Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) asked Twitter for a series of racist tweets in late 2012 to be removed as they broke the country’s laws prohibiting the incitement of racial hatred.
A number of the messages appeared on Twitter under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew), with some users posting examples such as: ‘#agoodjew is a dead Jew.’
After the posts were deleted, the UEJF and other anti-racism groups asked for details about who had posted the messages.
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Twitter refused and the groups proceeded with legal action against the social media outlet for the data. Earlier this year, the UEJF filed a $50 million suit against Twitter over its refusal.
The surrendering of the data "puts an end to the dispute" between Twitter and the five groups and ends all legal action, Twitter said in a statement, and added that the two sides had agreed to work together to combat racism and anti-Semitism in the future. It has also put in place systems that would make it easier to request ID details on people who abused its service.
Twitter's action was a "great victory" in the fight against racism, UEJF president Jonathan Hayoun said in a statement.
"This agreement is reminder that you cannot do anything you want on the internet," Hayoun said. "Twitter will no longer be a conduit for racists and anti-Semites where their anonymity will be protected."