France probes Twitter homophobia complaint

PARIS - Paris prosecutors are investigating a stream of anti-gay tweets after a group fighting homophobia filed a complaint against Twitter for inciting hatred, sources close to the case said Wednesday.

The investigation was launched on August 14.

The IDAHO Committee's French branch had lodged a complaint after tweets appeared on August 10 and 11 with the hashtags #gaysmustdisappear and #letsburngays in French.

"These illicit tweets on Twitter's site characterise the offence of public incitement to discrimination, to hatred or national, racial or religious violence," the complaint read.

"Despite alerts, Twitter allowed a homophobic atmosphere to develop on the social network and gave no serious response" to the tweets, the group said.

The French ministers for women's rights and for the digital economy have both condemned the abuse.

Twitter has faced calls to do more to prevent abuse, with tens of thousands of people so far signing an online petition calling for it to add a "report abuse" button to tweets.

Earlier this month a woman lawmaker and feminist campaigner in Britain received threats, including of rape.

In July, Twitter handed over data to French authorities to help identify the authors of anti-Semitic tweets.