They blame the platform for its inaction.
Three victims of cyberbullying asked the Paris Criminal Court on Tuesday to condemn Twitter, held responsible for the dismissal of their complaints, for lack of cooperation with French justice.
The court will rule on March 27 on the summons to appear of a survivor of the attack on the Bataclan in 2015, Aurelia Gilbert, the father of a victim of the attack, Georges Salines, and the former journalist Nicolas Hénin, hostage in 2013 of the Islamic State group.
In August 2020 for the first two and during the summer of 2019 for Nicolas Hénin, they were targeted by a wave of harassment on Twitter, after taking a stand in favor of the repatriation of the children of French jihadists detained in Syria.
“I think we have to put all the morons of collaborators by arms, or even better, by throwing them from a bridge”, wrote a surfer under a pseudonym in a thread of replies to Georges Salines.
Requests refused or ignored
Everyone filed a complaint and requisitions were sent to the social network in order to trace the authors of the hateful messages: Twitter either refused or did not respond, and the three investigations were dismissed, argued the civil parties.
The summons targets Twitter Incorporation (in San Francisco), Twitter International Company (Dublin) and Twitter France (Paris), for complicity in insult and provocation not followed by effect, as well as for refusing to comply with a request from a judicial authority.
"There is a form of impunity on Twitter, which has not responded to the request of our justice", estimated Aurelia Gilbert who, beyond the threats, had seen her account hacked: a user had posted to her places a message with his phone number and the words "traitor to the fatherland".
"Twitter simply decides to invent new rules of the game," pleaded Me Laura Ben Kemoun on the civil party side.
“Everyone has done their job and justice is blocked by Twitter, it is unacceptable and insufficient”.
A "great difficulty" in prosecuting harassers
The prosecutor first pointed out that for procedural reasons, Twitter could not be prosecuted for complicity in insult and provocation.
She then said "to share the finding" of a "great difficulty" in prosecuting cyberstalkers, and "understand the fight" of the pursuing parties.
But “it is clear” that the “procedural rules” in particular international “are binding on the prosecution as on all”, she nevertheless added.
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Twitter's lawyer refuted the "caricature" that the company believes itself "above the law", ensuring that it was "in close contact with the investigative services".
Me Karim Beylouni pleaded for release, noting in particular that the French and American entities did not have the status of host for France, and that the requisitions should have been sent to the Irish entity.
Tried for the same offenses, Twitter France and its managing director Damien Viel had been released in Versailles in March 2022. In a civil procedure launched in Paris by anti-discrimination associations, Twitter was ordered, at first instance and then on appeal , to detail its means of combating online hatred.
The social network has lodged an appeal in cassation.