WORLDPOST
03/22/2013 04:35 pm ET | Updated Mar 17, 2014

Twitter Faces $50 Million Lawsuit In France Over Anti-Semitic Tweet Data

The Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) may have won its court case involving anti-Semitic tweets in January, but the controversy did not end there.

As France 24 reports, Twitter allegedly did not follow through on court requirements, so the student union -- in conjunction with another French Jewish group -- decided to take the matter a step further. They sued Twitter for $50 million for failing to release data on the authors of the anti-Semitic tweets within a 15-day period, as is required by the French court.

"Twitter plays the card of indifference by not respecting the January 24th decision," UEJF President Jonathan Hayoun told the Agence France-Presse.

The suit, which was filed Thursday by UEJF and the "J'Accuse" association, demands that Twitter pay 38 million euros (about $50 million) to the Memorial de la Shoah, a museum that commemorates the history of French Jews during World War II.

“We are upping the stakes because Twitter has not been listening to the fact that they have to abide by French law,” French lawyer Stéphane Lilti, who represents the groups, told France 24, adding that the monetary demand "is designed to make them wake up to the fact that protecting the authors of racist tweets is not acceptable in France.”

Responding to the allegations that Twitter did not acknowledge the data request in the allotted time, spokesman Jim Prosser told The Huffington Post in a statement:

We've been in continual discussions with UEJF. As this new filing shows, they are sadly more interested in grandstanding than taking the proper international legal path for this data. We filed our appeal yesterday, and would have filed it sooner if not for UEJF's intentional delay in processing the court's decision.

In October, widespread anti-Semitic tweets were popularized by the French hashtag #UnBonJuif, which translates to "#AGoodJew." Users tweeted statements using the hashtag that were seen as offensive and derogatory to Jewish people.

Though Twitter partially acquiesced to UEJF's request to remove some of the most offensive tweets last year by blocking a majority of them from view, the social media company refused to ban the hashtag altogether -- something that is against company policy. That's when UEJF launched its campaign to get data on the identities of the offending tweeters.

As France 24 notes, the case is expected to go to court in September.

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