Twitter France and its CEO, Damien Viel, were released on Monday March 21 by the Versailles Criminal Court. They were on trial for not having helped the authorities to identify the authors of two abusive tweets targeting an official of the Yvelines prefecture.
“We welcome the decision rendered by the Versailles criminal court which clears Twitter France and Damien Viel of the facts with which they are accused”reacted the company in a press release sent to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
During the hearing in January, the prosecution had requested the maximum fine against the company and its general manager, tried respectively for “refusal to respond to a requisition” and “complicity in public insult”.
Trivialization of insults on the network
The case starts from a tweet from the prefecture of Yvelines calling for respect for the curfew, in March 2021. This message, all in all quite banal, showed the secretary general of the prefecture attending control operations.
Anonymously, a user of the social network then responds by comparing the police to the police of Philippe Pétain. Another describes the head of the prefecture as “Nazi”adding: “ He should be hanged at the Liberation, that one. » Relatively common insults on the social network, very often singled out by authorities and associations for its moderation problems.
But the secretary general of the prefecture filed a complaint and the Versailles prosecutor’s office then opened an investigation for insult against the authors of these two tweets. To identify them, the gendarmes send a requisition to Twitter France – this has remained a dead letter.
At the helm, Mr. Viel defended himself by recalling that Twitter France “is an entity that does not store data”the latter being stored and processed by the European subsidiary of the parent company Twitter Inc., located in Ireland. “I am in charge of the economic development of Twitter and nothing else”he added.
In another procedure, in January, the Paris Court of Appeal forced Twitter to release documents detailing its means of combating online hate. Several anti-discrimination associations had taken the network to court, judging that it lacked “old and persistent” to its content moderation obligations.