A town in the Netherlands has failed in its bid to force Twitter to do more to take down posts that spread a conspiracy theory claiming the town used to host a satanic paedophile cult.
Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, which has a population of about 35,000, has been the focus of a conspiracy theory falsely claiming that children were abused and murdered there in the 1980s, according to Reuters.
The claims, which date back to 2020, are believed to have been started by three men, with one of them saying he remembered these alleged events.
The men accused of starting the rumour are in prison after being convicted for a number of other crimes, including making death threats against Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Bodegraven-Reeuwijk has been disturbed by scores of people visiting the town’s graveyard to leave flowers and notes at seemingly random children’s graves, believing they were killed by the paedophile ring. Local officials say these visits cause “great unrest and anger.”
The town’s authority wanted all posts relating to the alleged events to be scrubbed from Twitter.
However, the Hague’s District Court on Tuesday concluded that Twitter had “done enough to remove unlawful content about the ‘Bodegraven story’ from its platform,” although it did say the company must respond quickly to concrete removal requests logged by the town.
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