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French complaint filed against Twitter for anti-gay hashtags

#LesGaysDoiventDisparaitreCar trended over weekend

Anti-gay hashtags trend in France. Credit: huffingtonpost.com

The Huffington Post reports that a French gay-rights group has filed a complaint against Twitter in France and California after a number of anti-gay hashtags began trending over the weekend.

According to the committee that organizes International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in France, close to 10,000 tweets were posted using the most prominent of the hashtags, #LesGaysDoiventDisparaitreCar (Gays must disappear because), with about 900 of the messages calling for the murder of gay people, The Post says.

IDAHO’s Alexandre Marcel told The Local in France that the situation is “totally unacceptable. Could you imagine being a 17- or 18-year-old gay person logging on to Twitter . . . and seeing messages that call for you to be killed?"

According to The Local, the advocacy organization SOS Homophobie has launched a parallel campaign online, calling on users to report the use of the hashtag.

“We support free expression, and we understand that there are some people who simply don’t like gay people, but this is a call for the extermination of the gay community,” Marcel says in the report. "Twitter hasn't deleted a single homophobic tweet, nor removed a single homophobic hashtag from its list of most popular trending terms," he adds.

Meanwhile, a United Press International report says the IDAHO committee wants Twitter to turn over information on those who used the hashtag to authorities to be investigated for violating the country’s hate-speech laws.

Other hashtags that have also surfaced include #SiMonFilsEstGay (If My Son Is Gay), #TeamHomophobe and #BrulonsLesGaysSurDu (Burn Gays on The).

Gay activists and their allies have launched a counteroffensive, posting queer-friendly messages on the LesGaysDoiventDisparaitreCar hashtag, The Huffington Post notes.