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Twitter threatened with lawsuit over anti-Semitic tweets

Agence France-Presse |

Twitter, a day after saying it blocked a neo-Nazi group’s account in Germany in a global first, faced a new battle Friday in France where Jewish students are taking it to court to force it to remove anti-Semitic messages.

The UEJF Jewish students’ union said it was filing a suit against the micro-blogging site to try to make it remove the offending tweets that have proliferated in recent days in France with the hasghtag #unbonjuif.

The hashtag — which in English means “a good Jew” — has been one of the top trending words on French-language tweets and is often followed by offensive comments such as: “A good Jew can pump up your tyre with his nose.”

“There is a fire that we have to put out. We want to put an end to this outpouring of hatred,” the UEJF’s lawyer Stephane Lilti said.

On Thursday, Twitter said it had blocked a neo-Nazi group’s account at the request of German police.

The move was the first time that the US firm had applied a policy known as “country-withheld content” which allows it to block an account at the request of state authorities.

In a move pitting censorship concerns against national laws on hate speech, Twitter said it had deployed the tool developed only this year to restrict content in a single country rather than simply delete posted comments.

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