Twitter removes French anti-Semitic tweets

image captionThe IEJF threatened to launch legal action over the flood of messages

Twitter has agreed to remove a flood of anti-Semitic tweets circulating on its service in France.

The offensive messages are circulating labelled with the #unbonjuif (#agoodjew) hashtag.

The tweets are being removed following the threat of legal action by a Jewish student group.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) was planning to get a court injunction to make Twitter remove the offensive tweets.

The decision to remove the tweets emerged from a meeting between Twitter's senior management, the UEJF president Jonathan Hayoun and the group's legal representatives. During the meeting the UEJF handed over a list of the posts it wants removed.

Over the past few days the #unbonjuif hashtag has been one of the most popular phrases on Twitter among French-speaking users of the service. Many of the tweets bearing the tag contain offensive comments.

The UEJF had scored an "important victory" over Twitter on the issue, Stephane Lilty, the student body's lawyer told AFP. It has also pressed Twitter to reveal the names of those abusing the hashtag. Twitter has yet to issue an official comment about the matter.

The decision to remove the messages comes soon after Twitter shut down an account used by a German neo-Nazi group based in Hanover. The block was imposed at the request of German police. Facebook and YouTube have also agreed to block the group's accounts.

The block was carried out using a novel feature called "Country Withheld Content" it introduced earlier in 2012. This means users in Germany will be unable to see messages posted by the account but they will be visible in other nations.

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