Australian Muslim group sues Twitter for failing to remove ‘hateful’ content | Twitter

An Australian Muslim advocacy group has filed a complaint against Twitter with the Queensland Human Rights Commission, accusing the site of failing to take action against accounts that incite hate on the platform.

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) argues that as publisher, Twitter is responsible for content posted by a far-right account that was cited in the manifesto of the extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

The network says that despite multiple requests, Twitter has refused to remove the account and is responding to its posts that “vilify” Muslims. These include comments such as “Ramadan means killing infidels” and claims that the Quran should be called a “terrorist’s handbook”.

The comments cited in the complaint refer to the Koran as “that satanic memory” and Islam as “the most violent and sexually perverse cult”.

The network accused Twitter under Queensland’s anti-discrimination law of inciting hatred as a publisher of third-party accounts, as well as discrimination for refusing to take action against hateful content.

Its complaint also alleges that Twitter engaged in indirect discrimination by failing to apply Australian standards to content on its platform.

The network says that between July 2020 and July 2021, it filed complaints on Twitter about 445 posts, including 29 tweets it said incited hate and 416 comments and quotes on those tweets.

Twitter did not remove those comments and confirmed in writing in July 2021 that the accounts had been deemed “in compliance with their policies”, according to the network.

Rita Jabri Markwell, an attorney for the network, said: “We’ve engaged with Twitter for over a year with some truly shocking examples. Images of Muslim men with guns stuck in their mouths and images of Muslims depicted as monkeys and cavemen chasing people with knives.

“We want Twitter to take responsibility for their platform. It shouldn’t be left to ordinary people to monitor their platform for them.

Twitter’s hateful conduct policy tells users may not encourage violence against or directly attack or threaten others on the basis of race, ethnicity… sexual orientation… gender… [or] religious affiliation”.

He says the platform does “Do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is to incite harm to others based on these categories.”

The Australian High Court has ruled that media companies could be held liable for third-party comments on their social media posts in the landmark Dylan Voller case last year.

In 2021, the advocacy network successfully sought orders to remove 141 pieces of content posted by former Senator Fraser Anning from Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter refused to remove the content until the court’s decision.

The network has also filed a racial discrimination and Section 18C complaint through the Australian Human Rights Commission against Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram.

“We are only taking these legal actions because it is our only option at the moment. We would like to see the onus shift from us to a regulator, probably the Electronic Security Commissioner,” Jabri Markwell said.

The network wants Twitter to immediately remove accounts that serially tweet material inciting hatred against Muslims, including those that propagate “great replacement” and “counter-jihad” theories.

The group is seeking compensation from Twitter “for the work involved in preparing their complaint, and for the hardship and trauma their inaction has caused Aman staff and volunteers.”

“When this comment is allowed online, it makes it normal and we see it repeated in news comment threads,” Jabri Markwell said.

“As a Muslim…it immediately makes you feel outside and deeply disrespectful.

“We are contributing, hardworking and caring members of this community and deserve to be treated with respect.”

Twitter did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

theguardian Gt

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