Twitter Caves To Demand Of French Jewish Students To Reveal Identifies Of Posters

150px-Twitter_2012_logoIn a disappointing concession by Twitter, the company has  agreed to hand over the details of people who post racist and anti-Semitic abuse anonymously on its site.  We previously discussed the effort of Jewish students to strip anonymity from posters and punish people for using language that they consider anti-Semitic.  It is in my view another major attack on free speech — part of a worldwide reduction of free speech rights.

In October 2012, Jewish student bodies asked Twitter to remove a number of messages which appeared under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew) and posters who wrote such things as “#agoodjew is a dead Jew.” France has sweeping hate crime laws that criminalize such speech. It is a fundamental difference in the understanding of free speech. Civil libertarians believe that people have the right to express thoughts, even reprehensible and racist thoughts. It was particularly disappointing to see students (historically advocates for civil liberties) leading this fight for censorship.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and three other similar groups took Twitter to court to demand the names. They accused Twitter of being a platform for anti-Semitism simply by allowing people to speak freely. It is part of a move globally to restrict the world’s greatest forum for free speech. Governments are obviously fearful of the power of the public in being able to speak freely, particularly repressive governments like China and Iran. Yet, citizens are also attacking free speech to require such sites to conform to their sensibilities and demands. I agree with these students that this is viral and disgraceful speech. However, they are leading a fight that will ultimately limit all speech and kill the single greatest vehicle of free thought ever devised by humanity. It is a Pyrrhic victory to be sure.

Source: Daily Mail

54 thoughts on “Twitter Caves To Demand Of French Jewish Students To Reveal Identifies Of Posters”

  1. Twitter should be ashamed of themselves just as Microsoft and the others that worked with the NSA should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. Gene, Absolutely Twitter attracts short attention spans. I live in a college town. Ever take note of young people’s attention span? It’s frightening. Where the hell are we going to get our neurosurgeons? Wait, I know..Asia.

  3. Thanks Dredd… Never used it… Don’t do much in the area of social media…. I have gray pride….in some areas….

  4. Agree with Gene H – hate speech will always be with us. I’d much prefer to see where it is. This is a foolish move by both Twitter and an own-goal by those who have made the demand.

  5. Twitter is “the single greatest vehicle of free thought ever devised by humanity?” That seems to be a tad bit hyperbolic.

  6. So anybody can call up twitter’s management and demand user information for any reason?

  7. Or . . . 140 characters caters to a people with short attention spans and little of substance to say.

    It all depends on how you look it, nick.

  8. On blogs you can spew hate in paragraphs, one must focus their hate on Twitter.

  9. Twitter came into existence shortly after blogs started to catch on in popularity. I’ve always considered it a somewhat symbiotic relationship between the two. Blog comments can be rambling, Twitter 140 characters. They tend to provide some balance, which is always important.

  10. Anonymously Yours 1, July 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I won’t say I understand how twitter interest folk but hey… Each to there own… This seems a little unreasonable…..

    Dredd, can you explain your comment….not sure what you mean….
    ==========================
    I commented:

    They need to get the Word Press censors on board their site.

    Like Pilgrim’s Pride chicken (“There is nothin’ in our chicken but chicken”) there is nothing in comments on Word Press but Word Press.

    If they did that it would be like here: “it ain’t Haines until Word Press says it is Haines.”

    You never run into the censors because, well because you are AY, a mild mannered reporter for the Gotham City Chronicle 😉 …

    Some of the rest of us get all rogue and mavericky sometimes … and put more than chicken in the chicken.

    The dominatrix Word Press then sends our bad goy stuff over to the sausage grinder.

    Sorry, I can’t give you and example. 😉

  11. While hate speech is a real thing, to attempt to stamp it out by legislation is a stupid thing. You cannot regulate how people feel or think and attempting to do so is akin to the Thought Police. You can combat hate speech though by using the disinfectant of sunshine combined with reason, logic and evidence to stop their poisonous memes from spreading. Even then, you’ll never change everyone’s mind. Hatred, like emotions often are, can be irrational. Never underestimate our species capacity for irrational behavior.

    Speaking of irrational, I have to go with AY on this point: I still don’t get the attraction of Twitter.

  12. One of my close friends…. ”INVITED” me to join Twitter, just yesterday. I call her to tell her, I don’t join ANY of those types of sites… Don’t need them, don’t want them. Thank you!

  13. Growing up as I did with the belief that names would never hurt me. so called political correctness dealt a mortal blow to free speech.

  14. At least I put my pictures up, showing off and my email address.   Hahahahahahaha! Lovely day, lovely day, lovely day. A Lovely Day.   

  15. Sometimes we need to take a look @ how much communication has changed in just the past two decades. We have gone from bag cell phones[I still have mine in my office closet] to phones that are akin to a business office. We have gone from a bulky computer in the home, w/ dial-up service, to a computer in our hands. Social media, well we really only need to go back a decade or so to see a fundamental change in how we communicate worldwide. There weren’t many blogs a decade ago! So, while I agree w/ Mr. Turley, being a fellow libertarian, I’m a bit more philosophical. Many of us welcome this free speech. Some fear it. The fear is not all the same. Repressive governments fear it for evil reasons. But, some people just have problems w/ change and w/ the dark side of free speech. We need to remain diligent regarding the former. We need to have some empathy toward the latter, w/o pandering to their fears.

  16. I won’t say I understand how twitter interest folk but hey… Each to there own… This seems a little unreasonable…..

    Dredd, can you explain your comment….not sure what you mean….

  17. They need to get the Word Press censors on board their site.

    Like Pilgrim’s Pride chicken (“There is nothin’ in our chicken but chicken”) there is nothing in comments on Word Press but Word Press.

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