After #SiMonFilsEstGay ("If my son is gay") trended on Twitter for days in France, the country's Minister of Women's Rights said the micro-blog must begin to censor hate speech.
Najat Belkacem-Vallaud argued that this sort of speech is illegal according to national law in the French newspaper Le Monde.
The homophobic trending topic is not an isolated event, Belkacem-Vallaud points out. Anti-Semitic and racist topics including #unjuifmort ("a dead Jew"), #unbonjuif ("a good Jew") and #SiMaFilleRamèneUnNoir ("If my daughter brings home a Black") have trended in France over the past two months.
"At a moment when the government is implementing an action plan against violence and discrimination committed for reasons of sexual orientation or gender identity, I want, without prejudice to any legal action, to call upon Twitter's sense of responsibility, so that it can contribute to the prevention and the avoidance of misbehavior like this," Belkacem-Vallaud wrote.
"I want us to be able to work together, along with the most important associated agencies, to put in place alerts and security measures that will ensure that the unfortunate events that we have witnessed in recent weeks will not occur again."
Belkacem Vallaud adds that freedom of expression cannot be used with impunity, because homophobia and racism can quickly lead to violence. Children who are homosexual are put at risk when such discussions are spread without moderation on the Internet.
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