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France orders Twitter to identify authors of anti-Semitic messages

A French court on Thursday ordered Twitter [social media website] to allow for the identification of authors responsible for recent anti-Semitic messages, as well as to establish a mechanism to alert authorities of illegal hate messages. The lawsuit was brought [RFI report] by the Jewish Students' Union of France (UEJF) [advocacy website, in French] last October after a series of anti-Semitic and racist tweets emerged on the social media website, with most messages using the hashtag #AGoodJew. While UEJF welcomed the decision [RFI report], some reactionaries to the ruling actually decided to increase their anti-Semitic tweets. UEJF admitted that there is still work to be done regarding anti-Semitic culture in France but declared it is nonetheless pleased with the progressive step taken by the French court. Twitter faces a fine of 1,000 euros per day if it does not comply with Thursday's order within two weeks.

Anti-Semitism [JURIST news archive] has not recently received much international attention, though it has long been an issue of global concern. In 2010 Canada released a report [JURIST report] indicating that anti-Semitism in the country had risen 11.4 percent since 2008. The report, released by B'nai Brith Canada [advocacy website], also found that anti-Semitic incidents increased globally in 2009, linking them to a rise in Middle East strike. In March 2009 the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) [official website] found that there was a rise in European anti-Semitism incidents [JURIST report] since December of that year. In November 2008, the German parliament passed a resolution [JURIST report] requiring the government to track reports of anti-Semitism in the country and fund education to combat the problem. In July 2008 the Council of Europe [offical website] released a report [JURIST report] emphasizing the need for European countries to examine their human rights records.

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