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A Dutch town is suing Twitter in a bid to get tweets about a Satanic conspiracy theory taken down, report says

·2 min read
Twitter logo is displayed on the screen of a smartphone.
Twitter logo is displayed on the screen of a smartphone.Getty Images
  • A Dutch town is suing Twitter to get all tweets about a conspiracy theory involving it taken down.

  • Three men have spread unfounded stories since 2020 on Twitter, Reuters reported.

  • The tweets falsely claimed that Satan-worshipping pedophiles were active in the town in the 1980s.

A small Dutch town is suing Twitter in a bid to get all tweets about a conspiracy theory involving it taken down, Reuters reported.

Three men have been spreading unfounded stories on Twitter since 2020 about the supposed abuse and murder of children in Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, a town with about 35,000 residents in the western Netherlands.

They falsely claimed that a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles was active in the town in the 1980s, according to Reuters.

The town's lawyer, Cees van de Zanden, told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant: "If conspiracy theorists don't remove their messages, then the platforms involved need to act."

Insider contacted Twitter for comment outside normal working hours. Twitter's lawyer, Jens van den Brink, declined to comment to Reuters before the hearing at The Hague District Court on Friday.

The stories started after one of the men shared what he called childhood memories about a group of people abusing someone in Bodegraven.

According to the report, people following the men's tweets saga went to the local graveyard to lay flowers and leave messages at the graves of children they claimed were victims of the satanic ring.

The three men are in prison after being convicted in other cases of incitement and making death threats to individuals including to Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and the former health minister, Hugo de Jonge, per Reuters.

Last year, the court ordered the men to take down all their tweets, threats, and other online content relating to the stories and to ensure they wouldn't resurface. Stories about the small town continue to circulate, however.

In July, van de Zanden said Bodegraven asked Twitter to find and remove all messages relating to the pedophile claims but was still waiting for a response.

Twitter's website states that the platform will limit the amplification of misleading content depending on "potential for offline harm," or remove it "if offline consequences could be immediate and severe."

Read the original article on Business Insider