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Twitter surrenders data of anti-Semitic French users

Twitter has provided French authorities with data relating to a series of anti-Semitic tweets posted online in late 2012.

The social network fought a lengthy legal battle in order to avoid surrendering the information, but has finally succumbed.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) alerted Twitter to the offending tweets (opens in new tab) – which were in violation of French law – in October last year, threatening legal action if they weren't subsequently removed from the site.

The campaign was successful but the UEFJ, supplemented by the support of four anti-racism organisations, asked for Twitter to reveal the racist tweeters' identities.

Twitter refused, prompting the groups to launch legal action against the micro-blogging site (opens in new tab). In January, a French court ruled in the UEJF's favour.

However, two months later, the UEJF sued Twitter for €38.5 million (£33 million) saying, "Twitter has not made any progress in regards to respecting our country's laws. The first step towards making any kind of progress could be finally listening to the court's decision, and making sure that its social network is not a lawless place."

Twitter lost its final appeal last month (opens in new tab), and will now surrender the relevant information.

"This agreement is reminder that you cannot do anything you want on the Internet," said UEJF president Jonathan Hayoun. "Twitter will no longer be a conduit for racists and anti-Semites where their anonymity will be protected."

Twitter has agreed to work alongside the UEJF to "fight racism and anti-Semitism."

Back in October 2012, Twitter implemented its censorship policy for the first time ever, blocking Germany's access to a neo-Nazi account (opens in new tab).

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.