Twitter hands over data to ID racist users

Twitter logo The dispute dates from a series of tweets sent in October 2012

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Twitter has handed over data that will help identify who posted racist tweets to the network's French service in October 2012.

The micro-blogging service fought a legal battle to avoid having to hand over the data.

However, it lost an appeal in mid-June and has now settled the case with those that began the legal action.

The call to find out who was behind the tweets came from France's Union of Jewish Students (UEJF).

The Union alerted Twitter to a series of racist tweets in late 2012 and asked for them to be removed as they broke French laws prohibiting the incitement of racial hatred.

The posts were deleted and soon afterwards, the UEJF and four other anti-racism groups asked to see identifiable details of who had written the messages.

Twitter declined, so the five organisations launched legal action to make the service hand over the data. In addition, in March this year the UEJF launched a £30m ($50m) lawsuit against Twitter over its refusal.

The surrendering of the data "puts an end to the dispute" between Twitter and the five groups and ends all legal action, the micro-blogging service said in a statement.

It added that the two sides had agreed to work together to combat racism and anti-semitism in the future. It has also put in place systems that would make it easier to request ID details on people who abused its service.

Twitter's action was a "great victory" in the fight against racism, said UEJF president Jonathan Hayoun in a statement.

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

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