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France investigates Twitter over homophobic tweets

media On one of this year's demonstrations against gay marriage Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Twitter could soon face an order to hand over details of authors of anti-gay hate messages to French authorities, following a complaint by a French gay-rights group.

French prosecutors have launched an investigation into an alleged homophobic tweets, some using hashtags such as #gaysmustdisappear and #letsburngays

LGBT rights group, the Idaho Committee, filed a complaint following a deluge of abusive messages and hashtags appeared on the social network on 10-11 August.

The complaint alleged the messages amount to incitement to discrimination and hatred, a crime in France, and that Twitter failed to respond seriously to alerts about them.

A French judicial source confirmed Wednesday that a Paris court had opened an investigation into the charges.

Caroline Mécory, a lawyer representing the Idaho committee, told RFI that she hopes Twitter cooperates with the investigators.

In July, after a protracted legal wrangle, a court ordered Twitter to identify the authors of anti-Semitic tweets, following a previous agreement that the microblogging site would block them.

Gay-rights groups claim there has been a rise in homophobic acts since the start of the campaign against the Socialist government's same-sex marriage bill, which became law in April.

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