Since mid-2015, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.” Most of these were related to ISIS.
“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 popular social networking service explained.
The company has been cooperating with law enforcement around the world when it comes to discovering who is behind accounts publishing terrorist content and shutting them down. They have also partnered with organizations working to counter extremist content online.
It’s sometimes difficult to define what constitutes terrorist content and what doesn’t.
Twitter and other online services are left to their own devices in figuring out how to balance the users’ expectations that they should be able to share their views freely, and the need to keeping their platform welcoming to all users and not be seen taking a soft line towards terrorism-promoting accounts.
“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,” they pointed out.
They will continue to shut down these types of accounts, and in order to do so they have enlarged the teams that review reported accounts, as well as started using spam-fighting tools to discover potentially offending accounts themselves.
The company is hopefull that their efforts will ultimately lead to this type of activity shifting off of Twitter. In the meantime, their efforts have resulted in an increase in account suspensions and, ultimately, the company is hopeful that this type of activity will shift off of Twitter.
Facebook has also been having trouble with terrorism-related accounts, and they have changed its community standards to indicate that accounts supporting “dangerous organisations” – terror or organized crime groups – will be not be allowed on the platform and will be removed if found.
Secure instant messaging service Telegram has also joined the fight and has blocked 78 ISIS-related public channels in November 2015.