French court orders Twitter to identify racist users

Twitter has been criticized in the past for not being as vigilant as other social networks as far as removing offensive content, and it looks like a French court is taking matters into their own hands by ordering Twitter to hand over the usernames and information of users who post racist and offensive tweets.

The French court ruling follows a legal complaint from back in October by the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF), where they argued that a number of tweets were being ignored by authorities that had broken French law prohibiting racial hatred. The group has criticized Twitter in the past, and the social network eventually removed some of the tweets, but the UEJF is still taking legal action against Twitter.

The French court today said that Twitter must hand over the usernames of the offending tweeters "within the framework of its French site," so the ruling doesn't affect other countries. Twitter says that they do not monitor content, but they review reports that are sent in consisting of content that may be illegal or against its policies.

The court also ordered Twitter to set up an "easily accessible and visible" system that would allow users to alert the site of illegal content specifically for "crimes against humanity and incitement to racial hatred." Back in October, Twitter removed a neo-Nazi group that would post racist tweets on the site, but only after German police stepped in.