social networks

Prosecutor to investigate Twitter account for making jokes about disabilities

@HumorrNegro feed, which has 164,000 followers, will also be probed for inciting racial hatred

The High Court public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the @HumorrNegro (or, Black humor) Twitter account for making jokes about people with disabilities, such as the journalist Irene Villa, who lost her legs in an attack by Basque terrorist group ETA in the 1990s. The account, which regularly tweets jokes of dubious taste, will also be investigated for inciting racial hatred, according to a report seen by EL PAÍS from the Office of Attention for Disability, which is part of the Health Ministry.

After receiving information collected by the Civil Guard, the prosecutor will investigate whether messages published via @HumorrNegro about Villa and other terrorism victims could constitute criminal offenses.

@HumorrNegro describes itself on Twitter as an account for “black humor and absurd jokes.” It has more than 164,000 followers and often publishes tweets that make fun of people with disabilities and other groups at risk of social exclusion.

Unlike with other similar accounts, the people behind @HumorrNegro do not profess to follow any ideology

The account consists of a steady stream of xenophobic, racist and sexist jokes, as well as those that could be viewed as inciting hatred or violence. Unlike with other similar accounts, the people behind @HumorrNegro do not profess to follow any ideology or political party.

The Spanish Committee of People with Disabilities (CERMI) reported the content of the Twitter account to the Office of Attention for Disability. The complaint was passed on to the Civil Guard, which in turn sent the case to the High Court prosecutor. Should it be decided that the comments tweeted via the account “constitute a criminal offense,” then steps will be taken “to bring them to an end and for those responsible to be held to account.”

CERMI has also sent a letter to Twitter calling on the social network to block accounts whose content repeatedly breaches the dignity and rights of people with disabilities, who number four million in Spain.

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