Twitter removed racist and anti-Semitic tweets in French on Friday amid pressure from a Jewish group that threatened to sue the social network, news sources report.
The French Union of Jewish Students pressured Twitter on account of French law that forbids all discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality, race or religion, NPR reported.
As its international presence increases, Twitter is faced with new issues. On Thursday, Twitter blocked users in Germany from access to the account of a neo-Nazi group that the German government bans. This was the first time that Twitter acted on its policy of "county-withheld content," which it announced in January, the Associated Press reported.
The policy requires that international users comply with local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content, the Associated Press reported. This policy also means that Twitter will block an account at the request of a government, the New York Times reported.
Although Twitter has notoriously said it refuses to police its millions of users, these two incidents are seen as potentially marking a new stage for the company, the Associated Press reported.
In a statement, the company said, "Twitter does not mediate content. If we are alerted to content that may be in violation of our terms of service, we will investigate each report and respond according to the policies and procedures outlined in our support pages," JD Journal reported.
The anti-Semitic tweets in French that Twitter agreed to remove began on Oct. 10 and included slurs and Holocaust-related photos. Other tweets were anti-Muslim, the Associated Press reported.
Many European countries have anti-discrimination laws. The majority of these regulations date to the aftermath of the Holocaust and the acknowledgement from many governments that years of hate speech had contributed to the Nazi attempts to annihilate the Jews, the Associated Press reported.
The German content that Twitter removed related to specific laws in Germany that prohibit the use of Nazi-related symbols and slogans, like displaying the swastika or saying "heil Hitler," the New York Times reported.
Some users see Twitter's censorship activities as attacks on freedom of expression and have expressed such sentiments publicly on the social network, NPR reported.