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Twitter jams German neo-Nazi accounts

Berlin, October 18, 2012, AFP:

Twitter on Thursday said it had blocked an account in a country for the first time, after German police asked the micro-blogging site to restrict access by a neo-Nazi group.

“We announced the ability to withhold content back in January,” Twitter’s chief lawyer Alex Macgillivray said in a message posted on the website.

“We’re using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany.”

In a separate tweet, Macgillivray posted a link to a letter from the police in the northern German state of Lower Saxony asking Twitter to block the account of Besseres Hannover, a far-right outfit which was outlawed last month.

The account is still visible on Twitter with the handle @hannoverticker and calling itself “Das nationale Informationsportal aus Hannover” (The national information portal from Hanover).

But no message since the date of the ban, September 25, is visible in Germany, and the group’s website has also been blocked or deleted.

Prosecutors in Lower Saxony have launched a probe against around 20 members of Besseres Hannover on charges of inciting racial hatred and creating a criminal organisation.

The group is in particular suspected of sending a threatening video to the state’s social affairs minister, Aygul Ozkan, who is of Turkish origin. Macgillivray said in a further post that Twitter aimed to restrict as little as possible on its website while complying with the law.


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