Twitter shuts down over 125,000 terrorist accounts

| Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 11:56
First Published |

New York: In its bid to curb the spread of terrorism-related tweets on its platform, the micro-blogging site has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to the Islamic State (IS).
“Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups. We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service,” Twitter said in a blog post.
According to a latest study by the US-based Brookings Institution, IS supporters may be operating over 46,000 active Twitter accounts.
“As the nature of the terrorist threat has changed, so has our ongoing work in this area. Since the middle of 2015 alone, we’ve suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to IS,” the post added.
In the recent past, Twitter has partnered with organisations working to counter extremist content online globally.
“We partnered with People Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to empower credible non-governmental voices against violent extremism. We also attended summits hosted by the White House, the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, the UK government, the French Prime Minister, the European Commission, and the United Nations,” the blog posts said.
Twitter also highlighted its cooperation with law enforcement, citing comments made by FBI Director James Comey last year..
“In July 2015, Comey recognised Twitter’s commitment to blocking terrorist content, praising us as “very good and thoughtful and hardworking at trying to shut down [terrorism-related] accounts,” it added.
The San Francisco-based company has increased the size of its teams that review terror-related accounts and leverage proprietary spam-fighting tools to surface other potentially violating accounts for review.
As many experts and other companies have noted, there is no “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist content on the internet, so global online platforms are forced to make challenging judgement calls based on very limited information and guidance.
“In spite of these challenges, we will continue to aggressively enforce our Rules in this area, and engage with authorities and other relevant organisations to find solutions to this critical issue and promote powerful counter-speech narratives,” Twitter noted.
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