France’s main Jewish student union asked a Paris court to order Twitter to divulge details about users who post anti-Semitic comments.
Tuesday’s hearing came on the heels of a weekend of Twitter posts using the hashtag #SiJetaisNazi, or #IfIWereANazi, which was one of the country’s top five trending topics on Jan. 5.
The court is expected to hand down a decision in the case on Jan. 24.
In October, the Union of French Jewish Students asked Twitter to take down offending tweets that had flooded the site under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew), with examples including: “#agoodjew is a dead Jew.” The hashtag became the third most popular in France.
The students’ union said it would sue if Twitter did not comply with demands to remove the tweets and disclose details about the users that posted them.
A Twitter spokesman refused at the time to comment directly on the tweets about Jews and reiterated the company’s standard response that it “does not mediate content.” According to the standards, Twitter cannot delete tweets, but does allow for accounts generating content in breach of its rules or considered illegal to be suspended.
Twitter also said it would not hand over details of account holders unless ordered by a judge. However, since French and American speech laws differ, the American-based company has said it will only recognize the judgment of a U.S. court.
The groups I Accuse! International Action for Justice, SOS Racism, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, and the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People are supporting the students’ union in the case.