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Twitter Purges 235,000 More Pro-Terrorism Accounts

As Twitter joins in with other social media companies to blot out pro-terrorist social media accounts online, ISIS continues to lose digital ground.

Since the middle of 2015 when Twitter ratcheted up its efforts to purge extremist content from its site, the company has suspended 360,000 accounts, Twitter announced today. In the blog post from Twitter, the company also re-emphasized its commitment to combating terrorism on its platforms, saying it plans to double down on these types of accounts and that its “work is not done.”

“Today we are announcing that we have suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for violating our policies related to promotion of terrorism in the six months since our February 2016 post,” the company reported. The company also said that daily suspensions were up 80 percent as screeners move more quickly to stop extremist posts.

“Our response time for suspending reported accounts, the amount of time these accounts are on Twitter, and the number of followers they accumulate have all decreased dramatically. We have also made progress in disrupting the ability of those suspended to immediately return to the platform. We have expanded the teams that review reports around the clock, along with their tools and language capabilities. We also collaborate with other social platforms, sharing information and best practices for identifying terrorist content.”

While Facebook has taken a hardline stance on terrorism and removes any and all posts that carry even a trace of suspicious content, Twitter has continually attempted to strike a balance between protecting free speech and cracking down on those who use its platform as a way to promote violence or threats. As a recent WIRED feature reported, Twitter is often still the “main engine” for ISIS propagandists to promote their cause and find new recruits.

In March 2015, author J.M Berger and data scientist Jonathon Morgan estimated that 90,000 ISIS supporters could exist on Twitter. Once suspended, many users quickly rejoin Twitter under new names.

Research by Berger, however, shows that the suspensions add to the costs of doing business for groups like ISIS. Once an account with a lot of followers is suspended, a new account created by the same user is unlikely to ramp up to the same number of followers.

Twitter also said they are willing to work with U.S. law enforcement, saying “we continue to work with law enforcement entities seeking assistance with investigations to prevent or prosecute terror attacks. Twitter responds to valid legal process issued in compliance with applicable law as explained in our Law Enforcement Guidelines, and we report on these government requests (in aggregate) twice a year, in our Transparency Report.”

Posted in General News

Tags: terrorism, support of terrorist organizations, social media, ISIS

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