UK
13/07/2013 10:48 BST | Updated 13/07/2013 10:49 BST

Twitter Will Hand Over Identities Of Anti-Semitic Tweeters

Twitter has agreed that it will reveal the identities of users who posted anti-Semitic messages after a lengthy court battle.

French news agency AFP reported that the microblogging website has agreed to hand over to French authorities details about the users to end dispute which began in 2012.

The news has been welcomed by French politicians, including Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of Women's Rights and Fleur Pellerin, Minister for Innovation.

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The controversy began after a Twitter trending topic #UnBonJuif

Twitter said in a statement that the disclosure would “put an end to litigation” against Twitter, led by the Union of Jewish Students in France, according to France’s BFM TV station.

The Jewish students were supported by anti-racism charities J'accuse!, SOS Racisme, The Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Lycra).

The users in question are guilty of violating France's hate speech laws.

The outrage came after a hashtag #UnBonJuif (A Good Jew) and #unjuifmort (A Dead Jew) began trending on Twitter, descending into vile an-semitic and Holocaust-denying jibes.

In July, the Paris Court of Appeals upheld a January 24 ruling that said Twitter must provide data on some users to the UEJF and four others that filed a complaint against the company in November 2012. Twitter now faced a fine of a thousand euros for every day it fails to comply.

The court also ordered Twitter to make it easier for users of its French website to report "illicit content" such as apology for crimes against humanity and incitation to racial hatred.

President Francois Hollande had called on Twitter to comply with the court order.

The users were guilty of violating French hate speech laws and Twitter must release information about the offenders, the court ruled.

Twitter has argued that it is protected by the First Amendment, but French media now report the company has capitulated in order to “actively pursue cooperation in order to combat racism and anti-Semitism in accordance with local legislation.”

UEJF lawyer Stephane Lilti said the agreement should lead to Twitter making it easier for users to signal racist or anti-Semitic tweets for removal.

The hashtag #UnBonJuif was the third highest trending topic on the French site for a period last year.

"A Good Jew can inflate his tire with his nose," twitter user @TheCreamBeats wrote, according to a HuffPost translation.

One described a good Jew as "cooked medium rare" and another just posted a picture of dust in a dustpan.