France: Twitter users fined for hashtags saying gay people should be burned

Joseph McCormick January 21, 2015
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For the first time a French court fined several Twitter users for using hashtags which called for gay people to be killed.

Three Twitter users were fined this week for using hashtags like “#Lesgaysdoiventdisparaitrecar” [“Gays must die because…”].

Those convicted in Paris this week had used the hashtag “#brûlonslesgayssurdu”, meaning “let’s burn the gays…”, in a case brought by the French LGBT charity Comité IDAHO.

Complaining that the users had incited hatred and violence based on sexual orientation, the case resulted in one  €300 (£230) fine, and two more at €500 (£383).

Some have already commented that the fines were two low, given that the maximum penalty for such a crime is a €45,000 fine, and up to a year in prison.

According to the Local, prosecutors argued that statements made on Twitter should be considered the same as those made in any other way.

Prosecutors in France in 2013 launched an official investigation into the flurry of homophobic tweets sent using the hashtags #gaysmustdie, and #letsburngays.

The microblogging site back in July of that year agreed, following a court ruling, to hand over information regarding the true identities of posters of anti-gay and anti-semitic tweets.

In January, the Paris High Court ruled that Twitter must give details of users who posted offensive messages on the microblogging site, at the request of several anti-hate groups.

This came after the the French Government suggested that Twitter should be fighting against homophobic, anti-semitic and racist tweets that potentially break its laws on hate speech.

More: Europe, fine, France, France, Homophobia, homophobic, Paris, Twitter

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