Twitter Bans 360,000 Terrorism Accounts

Twitter Bans 360,000 Terrorism Accounts

Twitter has announced it has suspended over 360,000 accounts over the last year for violating its policies on the promotion of terrorism and violent extremism.

The announcement comes at a time when the microblogging service has come under increasing pressure over its handling of accounts that allegedly support terrorism as well as for the way it handles abuse.

Earlier this year Twitter announced it had blocked 125,000 accounts since the middle of 2015 for, “violating our longtime prohibition on violent threats and the promotion of terrorism.” Now, it has revealed that a further 235,000 accounts have been suspended, bringing to total number to 360,000 over the last year or so.

Twitter said on its blog that the increase in account suspensions is a response to the number of recent terrorist attacks.

“Since [the first] announcement, the world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe. We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform,” the blog said.

“Daily suspensions are up over 80 percent since last year, with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks,” Twitter’s statement added. “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.”

Twitter also added that it has taken additional steps to stop suspended users from re-joining the site and increased the number of employees that work on removing these type of accounts.

These are welcome steps for Twitter to take, but as the company admits, it’s a difficult policy to enforce. “As we mentioned in February, and other companies and experts have also noted, there is no one “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist content on the Internet. But we continue to utilize other forms of technology, like proprietary spam-fighting tools, to supplement reports from our users and help identify repeat account abuse,” the blog said.

As well as fighting terrorism and violent extremism Twitter has also recently taken steps to combat abuse on its platform. Former CEO Dick Costolo once said that the company “sucks” at dealing with abuse and recently Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones quit the service after repeated abuse for her role in the film. In response, Twitter added a new filter aimed at reducing the amount of abuse.

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Source: Information Security Magazine