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Twitter faces possible lawsuit over trending anti-gay hashtags

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A French gay rights group says it plans to file a law suit against Twitter for violating the country’s hate speech laws following the emergence of the hashtag “#Gays must die,” which topped Twitter’s “trending topics” over the weekend.

The French committee of IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), said Monday it would file the complaint against the U.S.-based microblogging site for allowing “the diffusion of a call for hatred against gay people,” reported The Local.

According to the IDAHO, nearly 10,000 tweets were posted using the hashtag #LesGaysDoiventDisparaitreCar (“Gays Must Disappear/Die Because”), about 900 of which directly called for the murder of gay people.

“This is a completely blatant call for the death and murder of gay people. It is totally unacceptable,” Alexandre Marcel from IDAHO told The Local.

“We support free expression, and we understand that there are some people who simply don’t like gay people, but this is a call for the extermination of the gay community,” he added.

“Twitter hasn’t deleted a single homophobic tweet, nor removed a single homophobic hashtag from its list of most popular trending terms.”

The report added that another hashtag, #TeamHomophobes also appeared over the weekend and on Monday, the hashtag #BrulonsLesGaysSurDu (“Let’s burn gay people)” also appeared to be gaining momentum on the site.

Although Twitter has responded to previous complaints about hate speech in France by removing inflammatory tweets, or by assisting French authorities to identify offenders, the company has yet to respond to this latest debacle.

The gay rights group SOS Homophobie has also launched an online campaign against Twitter, encouraging users to report instances of anti-speech, and IDAHO has launched a counterattack on the hashtag by tweeting it with contradictory phrases in support of the LGBT community.

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17 more reader comments:

  1. What the eff, Twitter?! I thought you were better than that!!! How am I gonna hang on every written word of Frank Iero and the girl I´m in love with if you go and get sued because of your homophobia! Aaah!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:26pm
  2. One thing that I think is important to know is: Does twitter control what pops up in it´s “trending” section or is it automated? Not saying they shouldn´t be sued, I´m more curious than anything.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:29pm
  3. I wonder if they realize how boring, colorless, hateful and SMALL the world would be if all gays died…. nah… they´d just find someone else to hate.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:34pm
  4. Hate is Hate, Period.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:36pm
  5. I´ve always found it interesting in real life that it´s usually more than one person involved in gay-bashing… Why do these straights that want to hurt gay guys need a group to do the bashing? Me? I earned my 3rd degree black belt in 1975, sure I´m gay. It has surprised a few bashers over the years this gay/boi/man fights back.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:37pm
  6. Twitter is not responsible for every dumb thing someone says on twitter…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:45pm
  7. Twitter is not responsible for every dumb thing someone says on twitter…the hashtag was prob used by more gay rights supporters than ´haters…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:45pm
  8. This is stupid. Twitter can´t control something that is trending, its all automated. I would love to see how this holds up.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:53pm
  9. About time

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 8:23pm
  10. How is this any different than what Putin is doing in Russia? You cannot punish a company for what its users say. Nobody here blames facebook for the gay bashers on it, how can Twitter be held responsible for theirs? The trending tags are calculated automtically by what people are talking about, just as the name implies, and Twitter has no control over it.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 9:11pm
  11. Twitter dosn´t even start the hastags PEOPLE on there do. it´s automatic. Twitter will win this lawsuit cuz it´s ridiculous

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 10:07pm
  12. I hope this brings to Twitter´s attention that their automated trend-reporting system needs to filter out hate speech. The threat of lawsuit underlines how seriously the lack of that filter is taken. Following through on the lawsuit… I´m not sure how much good that´d actually do for anyone.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 10:31pm
  13. Twitter has no control over what becomes popular as it is automated. If enough people tweet with that hashtag, it comes on the Trending list. Not sure how this is going to hold up.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 10:31pm
  14. Violation of freedom of speech. If people want to use gay-hashtags, that is completely fine under the US constitution.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 12:51am
  15. when you protect freedom it has to be for everyone, not just the people you agree with. there is ignorance everywhere, but if you want true freedom you must endure.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:35am
  16. The freedom of speech does not protect hate speech.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:36am
  17. Yes, it does. I detest this type of hate speech, but I am solidly behind the ability to say what one feels (and accept the consequences). Gay people would have been silenced by the then majority if this freedom did not exist. Besides, who will decide where the line is drawn?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 12:54pm