The municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk sued the social network in September, demanding it delete all tweets linking the village to pedo-satanic crimes.
A Dutch village linked to pedo-satanic crimes on Twitter has lost its legal battle against the social network, which, according to a Tuesday court ruling, is doing enough to stop the conspiracy theory from spreading. The municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk in the western Netherlands sued Twitter in September, demanding it delete all tweets linking the village to pedo-satanic crimes.
The “Bodegraven story” was spread by three men on several social networks between January and June 2021. One of them had claimed to have witnessed and been the victim of satanic ritual abuse and murder of young children. It was called to come to the village to lay flowers and messages on graves “the victims”to which several dozen people had replied.
In 2021, the village had sued the three men, ordered to delete unsubstantiated stories from the internet. However, the municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk felt that Twitter was not doing enough to prevent the story from spreading and asked them to delete all tweets in which it is reproduced. Twitter “has currently done enough to remove illegal content related to Bodegraven’s story from its platform”however, the court in The Hague said after a preliminary hearing.
“Micha Kat”, the account at the center of the case
The social network has permanently banned an account spreading the tweets “defamatory” and also deleted all retweets from that account, he noted. According to Dutch media, this is the account of “Micha Kat”a person who accused several Dutch personalities of having been part of the “pedophile ring” and is currently locked up. Twitter “cannot be obliged to remove all posts in which the term Bodegraven is associated with child abuse on its own initiative and thus without the request of the community”decided the court.
The municipality must therefore rely on the “report and retract” procedure: indicate the tweets that it considers illegal and ask Twitter to delete them. “Not everything is illegal and according to Twitter, a good filter cannot be used in this case,” explained the court. The social network argued that such a filter would interfere with freedom of expression and remove content that, for example, denies the existence of the pedo-satanic network.