Dutch town loses Twitter case over satanic paedophile claims


On Tuesday, a Dutch town lost a legal battle seeking Twitter to take additional action to halt the spread of a hoax conspiracy theory that claimed the town was the base for a network of paedophiles who worshipped Satan.

The western Dutch town of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk filed a lawsuit against the social media giant in September due to the untrue rumors that three persons have been spreading since 2021.

After conspiracy theorists seized upon the accusations, dozens of people rushed to the town of around 34,000 residents to leave flowers and messages at the graves of the alleged victims.

“Twitter has currently done enough to remove unlawful content about the ‘story of Bodegraven’ from its platform,” a judge at The Hague district court said in a ruling published Tuesday.

A Dutch court, however, found that there was no evidence of any satanic paedophile network and found the accuser and one of the others guilty of sedition, making threats, and defamation in June.

The third individual was detained in Northern Ireland in August 2021 and sent to the Netherlands for trial on the same allegations a year later.

Last year, Bodegraven officials issued an emergency order in response to “severe dissatisfaction and fury” among locals, particularly the parents of children buried at the cemetery, brought on by the wave of conspiracy theorists.

 

The three men then sued Twitter in court, requesting that it take down all tweets linking the town to “satanic-paedophilic crimes” or encouraging people to go there to “commemorate victims.” However, the court decided that a blanket ban would effect too much legitimate information on Twitter.

“Not everything is illegal and a good filter cannot be made in this case, according to Twitter,” the judge said.


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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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