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Racist remarks on Twitter invite censorship in France

by ANDREA FRENCH Section Editor

French courts will meet to discuss racist remarks and hash tags that some people think should be deleted. The courts believe there are some racist remarks that are polluting the entire French Twitter sphere.

Some of these offensive remarks include hash tags such as #UnBonJuif (a good Jew), #SiMonFilsEstGay (if my son is gay), and #SiMaFilleRameneUnNoir (if my daughter brings home a black guy).

In the fall of 2012, Twitter agreed to remove some offensive tweets after pressure from the French advocacy group Union of Jewish Students (UEJF).

Last October, Berlin requested that Twitter had to suspend a German neo-Nazi account based in the city of Hanover. This was the first time Twitter was put under enough pressure to respond to a government request.

“I find this to be a strange occurrence in France. There are so many racists remarks made on Twitter in the US, that I am shocked that Twitter would respond that way in France,” says sophomore Taylor Zeni.

This is a controversial topic throughout the world because it challenges a person’s right to free speech. How free should free speech be? Clearly there are some limitations that people have to abide by; therefore, is speech really free?

In the United States, our Constitution protects us and our freedom of expression. Essentially in America, most of what you say (with exceptions) is protected from government consequences because the principle is that undesirable speech will be countered with more speech, instead of less.

“I always try to be as careful as possible with my tweets and other social media words. People think that no one sees their tweets, but that’s not true. Your tweets are there for everyone and anyone to see forever. Everyone should keep their racist thoughts and comments to themselves so that they can keep themselves out of trouble,” says sophomore Catarina Santo.

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