×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Twitter Sued For $50M For Refusing To Identify Anti-Semitic Users

Soulskill posted 1 year,26 days | from the feeding-the-trolls dept.

The Courts 335

redletterdave writes "After a French civil court ruled on Jan. 24 that Twitter must identify anyone who broke France's hate speech laws, Twitter has since refused to identify the users behind a handful of hateful and anti-Semitic messages, resulting in a $50 million lawsuit. Twitter argues it only needs to comply with U.S. laws and is thus protected by the full scope of the First Amendment and its free speech privileges, but France believes its Internet users should be subject to the country's tighter laws against racist and hateful forms of expression."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

335 comments

I've been waiting for this... (4, Interesting)

FrankSchwab (675585) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250071)

Is an internet company responsible to the country that it operates from, or is it responsible to every country that they can be reached from?

The second would be a remarkably scary result.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (5, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250123)

Is an internet company responsible to the country that it operates from, or is it responsible to every country that they can be reached from?

The second would be a remarkably scary result.

This stuff has already gone to court. Google execs were charged with crimes in italy for YouTube videos showing bullying. Google ignored it and Italy couldn't do anything. If Internet was ruled by every law in every country then it wouldn't exist. Sorry France you lose.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250537)

Is an internet company responsible to the country that it operates from, or is it responsible to every country that they can be reached from?

The second would be a remarkably scary result.

This stuff has already gone to court. Google execs were charged with crimes in italy for YouTube videos showing bullying. Google ignored it and Italy couldn't do anything. If Internet was ruled by every law in every country then it wouldn't exist. Sorry France you lose.

I think Italy arrested a few Google execs from Google Italy, which wouldn't be as scary - in which case as long as Twitter has no French connections (no servers, etc) then France can't do anything. If they do, France can go after the French company.

(Which is basically OP's point 1 - since the company has operations in various countries, they have to comply with the law, but only in those countries).

At the very worst, if a twitter exec was passing through France, they could potentially be arrested until the fine is paid for, I suppose.

Since I don't think Twitter has any assets or anything in France, the French government can't do a thing unless they can convince the rest of the EU that it's worth pursuing through other EU assets. Maybe. They can also arrest any twitter exec passing through France, I suppose - the US does it.

Of course, this would mean that while Twitter is protected by US laws, it's also subject to the whims of the US government, including those ones on copyright infringement and such.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (4, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250769)

It amuses me to think that some low-level IT guy from Twitter might one day go to Paris for his honeymoon ... only to get arrested at the airport until a $50 M fine is paid.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250565)

Sorry France you lose.

No surprises there.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250625)

The internet is "ruled" by whatever rules the host country allows (or is unable to fend off). In the case of Italy going after Google, the USA is the host country, and Google knows that it has nothing to fear because Italy doesn't have the ability to force the USA to hand anyone over for something that isn't a crime in the USA.

But then on the flip side, you've got the USA going after people in the UK, New Zealand, etc, and succeeding despite the fact that no laws were broken in the host country because, this time around, the country doing the prosecuting does have the ability to force the host country to be its bitch.

Perfect solution (3, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250835)

Google could just purchase Italy outright. I hear it will be rather a bargain. Problem solved!

Re:I've been waiting for this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250133)

Why? You WANT the second to be true.

People are unaware they are not free until something they want is taken away from them. Only through public pressure can draconian anti-speech laws be struck down.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (4, Insightful)

mdw2 (122737) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250259)

In many places these draconian anti-speech laws are popular with the local people. This would not end the way you think it would.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250553)

Well, the french feel guilty about giving so many of their jews to the germans during WWII, so they came up with these laws to make up for it...

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250643)

How odd, by your argument, all the countries that have legislation protecting people for morons should be up in arms about it. And yet they're not.

And all those countries that have strict guns laws should be up in (non-projectile based) arms against it. Yet they're not either.

It's almost as if different cultures are, well, different.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (2, Funny)

SternisheFan (2529412) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250135)

How long until posting anonymously on sites like Slashdot is forbidden? (I can see an upside to this)

Re:I've been waiting for this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250245)

If you see an upside you are hallucinating.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (5, Funny)

qwe4rty (2599703) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250349)

Or he is from Australia and a their upside is equivalent to a northern hemisphere downside.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (1)

The Moof (859402) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250491)

Considering I'm equally anonymous on Slashdot whether I'm logged in or not (having never supplied any real information for my account), Slashdot would still have problems with laws forbidding anonymity. As far as this site's concerned, I'm a username, password, and throwaway e-mail address.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (1)

patch5 (1990504) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250791)

And (unless you use a proxy for everything) at least a small handful of IP addresses, which would probably trace back to you if someone really cared enough to really go looking.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250503)

How long until posting anonymously on sites like Slashdot is forbidden? (I can see an upside to this)

Some of the most insightful comments I've seen on Slashdot have been posted by Anonymous Cowards, and I've seen some absolute drivel posted by people with usernames, so what's your point?

Re:I've been waiting for this... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250541)

Editors could screen for those.

Pretty much all the GNAA stuff back in the day, or the computer first aid, or APK or general poor trolling is done by ACs.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250141)

Is an internet company responsible to the country that it operates from, or is it responsible to every country that they can be reached from?

Wouldn't that depend on if the country they are operating from is willing/able to comply with the country that was offended?

Re:I've been waiting for this... (1)

BitterOak (537666) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250545)

Is an internet company responsible to the country that it operates from, or is it responsible to every country that they can be reached from?

Wouldn't that depend on if the country they are operating from is willing/able to comply with the country that was offended?

I think in the past, US courts have been reluctant to enforce foreign judgments against US companies where such judgments would offend the First Amendment, so I think it would depend more on whether or not Twitter has a business presence in France or makes significant revenue from French sources. Since Twitter doesn't have ads, they may be okay.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250181)

Only where they operate from AFAIK. If the French have a problem with twitter, they are welcome to block it from their people.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (3, Interesting)

bungo (50628) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250215)

For sure, it's responsible to any country that it can be successfully sued from.

After all, it's just a company, being on the internet doesn't make it any different. It's like saying that all of those silly patents that replicate existing procedures are suddenly different and patentable because they do it on the computer.

If the court system in a country can sue and get the ability to enforce a judgement, then the company is responsible to that country. If the share holders don't lose any money, then there's no problem.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250221)

Is an internet company responsible to the country that it operates from, or is it responsible to every country that they can be reached from?

Likely, it will come down to if they have a regional variant of their service or local servers.

If there's only a single twitter.com, and it lives in the US, and everybody hits then likely not.

But if there is a twitter.fr, and they have a presence in France and promote their service there -- well, then you really are going to be compelled to adhere to local laws. You can't have it both ways. One would hope that reasonably, if I do something in the country I live in, and it's legal, no other country should have any jurisdiction. That way you don't get someone being sued in France for something which is legal where they live. Because half of the internet would be getting sued in countries where saying certain things is illegal, even if they've never been there.

Twitter can't promote their products in other countries, install infrastructure there, regionalize their product, but claim everything else is covered under US laws.

Of course, that's great in theory -- who knows what a court would decide in reality.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (2)

berashith (222128) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250343)

isnt this what happened to eBay in Germany when they sold nazi memorabilia ? I think they had to alter the auctions to not display content to certain regions. Of course the difference here is that twitter is just enabling someone to shout really loudly, but you only have to hear it if you ask to know what the person is saying. France may not have to filter, but the French people who dont want to see what people all over the world are saying may not want to tune in to a service like this.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (1, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250729)

> Who knows what a court would decide in reality.

What a French court decides only needs to matter to Twitter if Twitter does business in France or has tangible assets there. Do they have employees or a local office in France? Do they buy or sell anything in France? If so, then yeah, French courts are going to have jurisdiction.

If not, then they can just NOT fly overseas to show up to the French trial, let the French court declare a default judgment that "Twitter owes sixteen jrazillion dollars in fines", and then ignore it. What are they going to do, seize all your assets in their country? All $0 worth of assets that you don't have in their country?

I don't happen to know whether Twitter does anything in France or has any assets there; but I bet Twitter's legal team has access to this kind of information.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250225)

Agreed.
If Countries don't like it too bad, it sets a terrible precedent to all other sites who may not be based in those sites to may be pressured to comply to some of these crazy laws.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250289)

It's the Jews. Really - it's us.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250351)

If you're not conducting business in said country -- i.e., have no employees there to be arrested and no holdings there that can be confiscated -- then said country can go fuck itself.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250555)

The same laws apply for any type of media. A company is responsible for the countries it delivers into, and has to abide to the laws of that country. Think of it as import/export.
It is of course impractical for internet services to check for all possible free speech violations. But once a violation has been identified, companies should work with law enforcement.
In this case the problem (I believe) is not that someone on the internet said something anti-semitic and it is a problem that this content was delivered to France, but that the France-based user committed a overstepped the boundaries of free speech. How do we know he/she is in France though? The authorities need to deliver a reasonable arguments for that (perhaps the twitter account says that explicitly).

Generally it is a problem that e.g. German Neo-Nazis can spread their views (e.g. denying the Holocaust) and persue (re-)engagement in National Socialist activities (Wiederbetätigung) on US-based servers. In Europe we have a different discussion culture than the US. It is not based on the "Market of Ideas" concept, where everyone can yell their opinion and we hope the best one will survive. The societies decided that some speech and acts are not acceptable. This is within the bounds of the European Convention on Human Rights (see article 102).
And so businesses delivering into these countries, no matter whether US-based, French or German, should be respectful of these laws, just like you they would not export Swastikas into Germany.
Whether the laws are good or not is not for US-companies to decide.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (1)

jonadab (583620) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250595)

I vote for "every country where they actually do business in the real world". So that means every country where the company maintains a local office, every country where they have a call center, every country where they have a production facility, every country where they purchase materials or services (including advertising), and every country where they directly SELL goods or services (so e.g. Amazon needs to comply with local laws in every country they ship to directly -- including ones where the actual shipping is done by a daughter company like Amazon UK; that still counts).

Obviously we can NOT expect companies to comply with all the laws in every country where there are people with internet access who might visit their website (even if doing so involves signing up for a free account). If no money is changing hands, it's not business, and if the company has no presence in the country, owns no property there, has no employees there, does not buy or sell there, etc., then that country has no jurisdiction over them and their laws are inapplicable. What are they going to do, seize all your assets in their country? We just established that you don't have any.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (2)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250665)

There is also the option that the Twitter could be responsible for handing over the records of tweets that originated from an IP address in France since the tweet would be committing a crime there. So if someone in the US made an anti-Semitic comment and the French courts wanted the user details then Twitter can tell them to get lost. But if the tweet was made in France then they should comply because the local law was broken.
Now the article mentions that the French judge said that the French Internet users should be subject to tighter laws. So I don't know if this means French people sending tweets or French people seeing the tweets. Also Twitter is using the US First Amendment of free speech to refuse to comply with the French judicial system but removed the tweets anyways. If they were so bad that the tweets had to be taken down then why refuse to co-operate?

Re:I've been waiting for this... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250757)

The moment an exec from Twitter steps within French jurisdiction (which extends a lot further than you think), arrests will be made for contempt of court - look at what happened to the British online gambling company execs arrested in the US for making gambling services available to US citizens, despite the entire infrastructure and company being based outside the US.

Exactly the same situation as here.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250821)

Why shouldn't businesses have to follow the rules of their customer's nation?

First they came for the anti-Semites (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250091)

but I wasn't anti-Semitic. We'll talk about Bieber.

priorities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250101)

"We will steal from people as a means to discourage 'hateful forms of expression'"

Might as well beat up children who use 'bad' words while they are at it.

Only Fair (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250111)

The US government expects websites worldwide to bow to its law, it seems perfectly reasonable for a US website to follow the laws of any foreign nation.

Oh wait, neither of those things make any goddamn sense.

Re:Only Fair (1)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250309)

Those are sites that have a presence in the US, they had to go to the authorities in New Zealand to deal with the Megaupload problem, because the US has no jurisdiction over those servers in a foreign country.

This is no different. The French can get outraged, but unless Twitter has a presence in France, the French laws don't apply as they aren't located in France and aren't French nationals either.

So France should fix it (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250155)

France believes its Internet users should be subject to the country's tighter laws against racist and hateful forms of expression.

Then France can filter their internet. Why does Twitter have to do anything? If France wants censorship, they should implement it.

Re:So France should fix it (2)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250333)

Why does Twitter have to do anything?

Not knowing what Twitter's presence looks like in France, the first questions are: Do they have any offices/personnel there? Do they have any equipment? Is there a twitter.fr? Do they promote and regionalize the software to France?

If any of those are true, Twitter is basically screwed in the same way Google was.

If it's all in the US and not anywhere else, then Twitter will likely be safe.

Re:So France should fix it (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250425)

Twitter have purchased twitter.fr, but it only redirects to their US site. They probably have done the same to every country code, to make sure squatters or scammers don't get them.

Re:So France should fix it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250561)

Twitter have purchased twitter.fr, but it only redirects to their US site. They probably have done the same to every country code, to make sure squatters or scammers don't get them.

Then, arguably, for every country they're purchased that domain, promoted their software, taken any advertising revenue, employed staff, or otherwise "done business" -- then they might have to obey the local laws only as it pertains to their citizens and what they make available in that country.

If you staunchly set up US only, don't promote into other countries, and any international usage isn't something you sought out, then you can probably tell them to PFO.

I'm not convinced that Twitter hasn't promoted themselves, or "done business" in those jurisdictions. If they've ever done anything in France, they can't then say they're only bound by US laws.

Re:So France should fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250435)

Oh, but they will... it's just a question of when. Just like any other country will eventually.
Kudos to China for being in the lead.

Re:So France should fix it (3, Interesting)

clam666 (1178429) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250499)

Exactly. This is an issue for France vs. Internet. Not France vs. Twitter.

If France decides it really doesn't want to hear tweets about Blue vs. Red states in the U.S., then they can bloody well create Le Carnivore on their own dime and filter those evil horrid thoughts that makes Jews or activists or whiners who never learned to deal with the world go Boo Hoo..

This is like your little sister crying to mom because you said 'girls have cooties' instead of her cowgirling up and learning to deal with it. Don't want to hear about cooties? Solve your own problems. Don't like people being anti-semitic because it twists your nads? Handle your own homeland. Don't complain because someone, somewhere, is saying something you find "offensive". And stop bowing down to every sociopathic "activist" who thinks words kill rather than actual violence.

Clearly France needs to hire Adria Richards to manage their twitter relations.

Re:So France should fix it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250747)

Exactly. This is an issue for France vs. Internet. Not France vs. Twitter.

Not necessarily. If Twitter is doing business in France, they're bound by their laws -- hell, if they've registered the trademark in France they're probably bound by them.

Imagine if a Chinese company set up shop in the US, and then said "We're a Chinese company, we're ignoring your laws". It wouldn't fly.

So it's going to come down to the extent to which Twitter has any business presence in France -- and if they have any, they're going to be stuck. And, since twitter.fr redirects to twitter.com the claim of not doing business in France might be nullified. Because the act of buying the domain likely means you agree to their rules. (And don't say that isn't true, because the US has seized .com domains for companies with no presence in the US because they claim ownership over the entire .com TLD)

Begging the Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250157)

If Twitter ignored the court order because it came from another country, who's to say they will respect the decision of the same court if they are successfully sued? What reason do they even have to show up to the hearing in the first place? The US government isn't going to do anything about it, and it's not like the French government is going to send someone over to arrest them.

Re:Begging the Question (2)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250331)

They ignored a court order because the court lacked jurisdiction. Not the greatest way of handling it, but ultimately, unless they have a presence in France, the French courts have no jurisdiction. What they should have done was shown up and filed the relevant motions to have the case dismissed with prejudice as they aren't a French firm or operating anywhere in France. The courts with relevant jurisdiction would be located elsewhere.

Create your own country, create troll laws, profit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250163)

Create your own country, create troll laws, profit.
Ecalité, fraternité, but no parlerité.

F*ck france. France means nothing. Shut up france. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250185)

F*ck france.
France means nothing today.
Shut up france. Now.

Twitter should say... (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250189)

Twitter should send a letter stating: "We are an American company, doing business in America. We abide by American laws, not yours. We have no desire to abide by your laws or even to provide service to your country. If you don't like what we do, feel free to block us. But no one from our company will ever travel to France again. Good luck with your laws."

Note, I have nothing against France. But all countries (including the USA), need to recognize that the internet will their citizens do business with foreign companies and that foreign companies are NOT required to obey their laws. It is up to the citizens of a country to obey that countries laws, not everyone in the world.

In other news... (5, Funny)

srussia (884021) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250195)

France's nuclear power infrastructure can now be decommissioned, as they have coupled all the turbine generators to Voltaire's grave.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250417)

France's nuclear power infrastructure can now be decommissioned, as they have coupled all the turbine generators to Voltaire's grave.

Is it still funny if I had do research I laughed?

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250613)

Given that it's Voltaire we're talking about, perhaps it would have sufficed to just connect the electrodes...but I'll be candid with you, regarding your optimism, are you sure they'd also get the necessary amperage?

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250661)

Legendary sir. If i had mod points you would have them all.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250673)

Didn't the officials of the time hate Voltaire? I imagine he got used to this sort of shit while he was alive.

People usually don't make memorable quotes about issues they take for granted. They make bold argumentative statements about contentious issues, and we keep the ones that were right.

twitter is a public company (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250211)

While I commend this action, I am afraid that share holders may be upset with twitter taking a $50 million hit for their morals.

Re:twitter is a public company (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250267)

Twitter won't pay a cent. Who will make them?

Re:twitter is a public company (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250373)

That assumes french courts have any way of forcing twitter to pay out the money. Even if the court rules in the plaintiff's favor, it doesn't necessarily mean that twitter will just shrug and agree that need to pay 50 million.

Re:twitter is a public company (1)

BitterOak (537666) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250581)

While I commend this action, I am afraid that share holders may be upset with twitter taking a $50 million hit for their morals.

$50 million is nothing compared to the revenue they may lose if people no longer trust it as a place where they can post things without repercussions from foreign powers. (Although, to be honest, I don't really know what their revenues are or where they come from.)

Re:twitter is a public company (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250771)

What $50 million hit? How is France going to enforce a judgment (which they haven't even won yet, as a matter of fact)? "Pay us $50 million or we will make very angry faces at you."

Silly french.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250247)

Twitter's official response should be "We fart in your general direction you filthy French canigits."

Make it like state sales tax (1)

sunking2 (521698) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250275)

If Twitter has any sort of physical presence in the country then they should have to follow their laws, be it offices, servers, sales people operating, etc.

Re:Make it like state sales tax (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250367)

um in the entire EU - there are such things as EU arrest warrants and France has a inquisitorial system of Justice

Re:Make it like state sales tax (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250801)

and France has a inquisitorial system of Justice

NOBODY expects the inquisitorial system of justice ... ;-)

Re:Make it like state sales tax (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250851)

there are such things as EU arrest warrants

But you can't use them for this. EU arrest warrants can only be issued for criminal prosecutions or enforcing custodial sentences. If it doesn't involve being sent to prison for at least a year, they won't issue one.

Twitter said no, get over it... once again (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250281)

I always post to the wrong one. so again.

I read Twitters TOS as listed today (Mar 22 2013)

"We also reserve the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as we reasonably
believe is necessary to (i) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request..."
https://twitter.com/tos [twitter.com] [twitter.com]

Reading the translated article then wikipedia. The case was heard and judged by the
Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris (Google Translate) a minor jurisdiction, that hears hears minor civil cases.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_France [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]
http://books.google.com/books?id=hJaEzC1CBe8C&pg=PA153#v=onepage&q&f=false [google.com] [google.com]

I would think Twitter has the right not to acknowledge this court as being applicable or relevant.

Again Twitter TOS
"(iv) respond to user support requests,

They said no, enforcing their TOS of

"(v) protect the rights, property or safety of Twitter, its users and the public."

I'm sure it says no hateful comments somewhere but at the most the guilty persons account be deleted.

I'm not surprised that this didn't happen sooner.. (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250301)

After all most countries in the EU have similar law, Canada has similar laws(still) since the bill to strike down various parts of the hate speech laws are still stuck in the senate. The US is the odd ball out. Remember the next time someone starts screaming that hate speech laws are a good idea, they're not. This is spoken by someone who already lives under them. You have no "freedom of expression," you have limited expression as deemed by the government in a very and exceptionally narrowing scope as deemed by unelected bureaucrats in HRC's(human rights councils) who run tribunals outside the court system.

Re:I'm not surprised that this didn't happen soone (2)

myrikhan (1136505) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250715)

This is spoken by someone who already lives under them. You have no "freedom of expression," you have limited expression as deemed by the government in a very and exceptionally narrowing scope as deemed by unelected bureaucrats in HRC's(human rights councils) who run tribunals outside the court system.

Taken from http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/03/17/supreme_court_reaffirmed_canadian_balance_on_free_speech_siddiqui.html [thestar.com]

Anti-hate laws undermine free speech.

No, said the court, they “appropriately balance . . . freedom of expression with competing Charter rights and other values — a commitment to equality and respect for group identity and the inherent dignity owed to all human beings.”

Anti-hate laws breed political correctness, stifle debate.

No, “hate speech legislation is not aimed at discouraging repugnant or offensive ideas. It does not, for example, prohibit expression which debates the merits of reducing the rights of vulnerable groups. It only restricts the use of expression exposing them to hatred.”

Hate speech is hard to define.

The judges have defined it — as that which “a reasonable person, aware of the context and circumstances, would view the expression as likely to expose a person or persons to detestation and vilification on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.” They also provided “a workable approach” to combating it.

Apply the rules “objectively” (their emphasis).

Interpret “hatred and contempt” “as being restricted to those extreme manifestations of the emotion described by the words ‘detestation’ and ‘vilification.’ This filters out expression which, while repugnant and offensive, does not incite the level of abhorrence, delegitimization and rejection that risks causing discrimination or other harmful effects.”

Look to the effect of hate speech on the target. “Is the expression likely to expose the targeted person or group to hatred by others?”

A no-holds-barred debate may hurt but it does not harm anyone.

“Preventive measures do not require proof of actual harm. The discriminatory effects of hate speech are part of the everyday knowledge and experience of Canadians.”

Provocateurs do not mean to malign the group they attack.

Good try, but “allowing the dissemination of hate speech to be excused by a sincerely held belief would, in effect, provide an absolute defence and would gut the prohibition of effectiveness.”

The court could have added that human rights codes are not the only limitation on free speech.

Libel laws don’t allow writers to say whatever they want about, say, Conrad Black. Why is that chill less corrosive of free speech than anti-hate laws? Are minorities less worthy of legal protection?

The Criminal Code, too, limits free speech. I may be marched off to jail for up to two years if convicted of spreading hate. Granted, the bar to prosecute is higher there than under human rights codes. Still, it makes no sense to criminalize speech and jail people for their words, rather than merely imposing a fine on them.

Re:I'm not surprised that this didn't happen soone (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250789)

Oh please.

Almost noone in France or Germany is affected by these laws in any way shape or form. The vast majority of people isn't even aware of these laws (which isn't a good thing by itself, but it does show how little of a deal this law is to most people).

If your definition for "freedom of expression" really is absolute freedom (as your post seems to imply) then there is no country on earth that i'm aware of, offering freedom of expression (certainly not the USA). Sure, the US doesn't have hate speech laws like many European countries (mostly a mark left by the second worldwar being fought on their own soil as opposed to as a war overseas), but there are tons of examples of US laws that impede freedom of speech/expression in the very same way (and for good reasons). Popular examples include yelling fire in a cinema, telling people you're gonna kill the president, disturbing the peace laws and so forth.

I remember seeing a movie a long time ago with Bruce willis in it, i think it was "Die Hard with a Vengeance" in which Bruce Willis ended up standing in harlem wearing a big sign on his chest saying something like "I Hate ". Ofcourse it didn't take long for a fight to erupt there, as it would in real life, both in the states and most of europe.

Nobody in his right mind considers this a healthy use of freedom of speech, in the US the police would pick that person up for disturbing the peace or some other dubious charge (even if only to break up the uproar for a few hours and then kick the person loose). In France (or germany or most other countries) the exact same thing will happen except the law used to do so is considered a hatespeech law.

Hate speech laws are problematic in an academic sense, and i do agree that a government broadening the definition of exactly what constitutes hatespeech to serve itself is a valid concern, but the current implementation of hate speech laws as seen in Western Europe are fairly harmless and not likely to result in people being censored without real cause.

I'm sure there are some examples of these laws being misapplied or abused (just as with any other law), but that's more of a problem with the people in power.

Do TV Broadcasters Have to Put Up With This? (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250307)

Al Jazeera [wikipedia.org], the Arabic news channel, is broadcast across most of Europe. Can France take action against it if it broadcasts any anti-Israeli material?

Re:Do TV Broadcasters Have to Put Up With This? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250563)

Anti-Israeli is not at all the same thing as anti-Semitic.
Anti-Israeli material is directed against the policies of a nation or its government.
Anti-Semitic material (despite the broad name) is racist stuff directed at Jews in general.

Re:Do TV Broadcasters Have to Put Up With This? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250719)

Anti-Israeli is not the same as anti-Semitic.

Surely you can see the difference? Just like one might protest the actions of the US government while holding no ill will towards her people.

I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250317)

Twitter argues it only needs to comply with U.S. laws

And it's a solid argument, if France doesn't like it they have the power to block twitter nationwide.

It's a shame it doesn't work the other way around around though, as the US would never accept that answer.

I'm curious to see how this unfolds.

It seems pretty straight forward to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250325)

If the offending party is in the country in question and they are using the service to break the laws of that country, then their information should be turned over as long as a legal request to do so has been filed. If the perpetrator is not physically in that country and the service provider, in this case Twitter, doesn't occupy a physical space in that country, then they have no obligation to comply. Of course, then the issue of "good" nations version "bad" nations arises where the laws strictly forbid speech against the regime or what-not and a lot of our tech companies have openly flouted such requests, so I guess it's really open to interpretation.

Re:It seems pretty straight forward to me (1)

Lazere (2809091) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250807)

So, you're saying that France should be able to file random requests against speech they don't like on twitter until they randomly hit on somebody from France? Seems like something that could be easily abused, don't you think?

oy vey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250357)

It's like another Shoah!

yep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250397)

And that's how the great firewall of France was started...

mega lol (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250431)

A fairly recent survey found the group of people who have the lowest opinion of the French people are the French people themselves. So, aren't they all taking to Twitter to complain about French people and violating their own law? Racism is racism, lol.

I WIPE MY ASS WITH A 360-720 DEGREE FLOOR SPIN (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250445)

My cousin is going through boxes in the garage to get all my dead uncle's "I HATE FRANCE" shirts. We're selling them online once the washing machine finally gets the meth sweat.

This has damaged my relationship with my French bulldog as well. She is contacting her lawyer in Paris after having seen a picture of herself holding a demeaning sign online.

Self-identification (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250455)

Stand down, Twitter. The French government is a role model for tolerance.

So if someone calls me a dumb nigger on twitter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250481)

Does that mean they will sue for 50 million?

I have a feeling they don't care about niggers and only love jews in france. It's only when a less than 1% superwealthy subset of the population are called kikes do they really care , and at the same time, demand more jew gold.

Fuck the French, and fuck the Jews too. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250535)

I've never met a French person who was not an asshole.

And many Jews are annoying whiners who act like they
deserve special treatment in all aspects of life just because
some Jews have been tossed out of countries where they
annoyed the wrong people.

This latest news doesn't exactly prove me wrong.

Re:Fuck the French, and fuck the Jews too. (1)

erroneus (253617) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250711)

Seconded. And I'll add to that to say that a nation's laws should only extend to the borders of the nation. I am personally ashamed of my nation (the USA) for its trickery, manipulation and deceit in trying to extend and expand its laws (at the request of business) to other nations.

I hold that everyone who hates me is completely entitled to hate me. Call me names. Say what you like about my opinions and the things I do. (So long as they are the truth with evidence or are merely opinion.) As a US American, I believe in the constitution as it was written and that the freedom of speech [especially] covers unpopular speech. So screw the Jewish (leaders... I love the people actually) for attempting to trample and silence free speech.

We have seen concession after concession made on behalf of France by internet companies all over. It's about time someone brought this to a stop and fought back.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the first useful thing Twitter has done. I hope they prevail. Of course the court will likely be a French court and the liklihood that Twitter will even appear is, I'm guessing pretty low. How this all plays out will be very interesting. In previous cases which were similar in nature, Twitter rolled over. I hope this will end very differently.

Of course, I think this is Twitter realizing it is a major media entity now and should begin acting like one.

Go Twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250547)

Otherwise next thing would be Saudi Arabia demanding blasphemers be identified for beheading.

Local physical presence? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250623)

Does Twitter have a physical presence in France? If not, then the French government can fuck off. If they don't like it, they can block Twitter access to their citizens - I'm sure that will go over well....

Why censor racists? (2)

drdaz (994457) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250657)

I've never understood the motivation in censoring racism online.

Posting slurs on Twitter is one of the least harmful things these morons could be spending their time doing.

Twitter should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250677)

countersue the French government under U.S. SLAPP laws. If France says they don't have jurisdiction, Twitter should say, "exactly."

I see london I see france (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250709)

I see your dreidel embossed underpants.

What we should do is ask North Korean dictators what is acceptable behavior for people living in other countries and sue (or execute) anyone who would dare make Mr fat face grimace. Who knows perhaps %0.0001 of those proceeds might be used to feed starving citizens...anything is possible.

Censorship by country (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,26 days | (#43250823)

The political environment added with each countries customs and beliefs will not let them just say "oh hah.. lol sorry, forgot it's the interenetz!"

Afghanistan/Iran and other countries already censor. Many will follow. It's the only logical, but unfortunate, recourse a country has over something they cannot otherwise control. Or, you just make your own state-sponsored trucks 'n tubes [aljazeera.com]

It's not racism... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#43250843)

...because there is no such a thing as a "jewish race".

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...