Security Experts:

Twitter Suspends Over 100K Accounts Related to Terrorism

Since mid-2015, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, the social media company recently announced.

The company notes in a blog post that the suspended accounts have been primarily associated with the jihadist group Islamic State (known as IS, ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), and that it has increased the number of people in charge with reviewing suspicious accounts.

The micro-blogging platform has long had an aggressive policy towards blocking accounts that engage in abusive behavior, as described in the Twitter Rules. Violent threats, harassment, and hateful conduct are covered by the company’s definition of abusive behavior, and accounts that promote violence and terrorism are suspended based on these rules.

According to Twitter, increasing the size of teams responsible with reviewing reports on suspicious account activity allowed it to reduce response time significantly. Furthermore, this allowed the social network investigate accounts similar to those reported, as well as leverage spam-fighting tools to discover other potentially violating accounts.

Twitter also notes that these investments allowed it to suspend a large number of accounts in the second half of the last year and that activities related to terrorism are shifting off its micro-blogging platform as a result.

Additionally, the company reiterated its commitment to fight terrorism and reminded users that activities aimed at promoting violent activities are not permitted on the social network. However, the company is also looking to strike a balance between prohibiting certain behaviors and providing users with the ability to share their views freely.

“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,” the company said.

According to Twitter, there is no specific algorithm that allows Internet organizations identify terrorist content on the Web, meaning that global platforms need to make judgment calls based on the information and guidance they have.

This might prove challenging in some situations, but Twitter plans on continuing to aggressively enforce its Rules in the area. Moreover, as it already has a history of working with law enforcement entities for blocking terrorist content and shutting down terrorism-related accounts, the social network will continue to partner with authorities and other relevant organizations.

Although it works on blocking accounts associated with terrorism, Twitter is also looking to protect freedom of speech, and the fact that it has recently started warning users  when suspecting that their accounts might be targeted by state sponsored attackers is proof of that. 

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