Twitter suspends 360,000 accounts for terrorist ties

The social network has suspended 235,000 in last six months alone, with rate of daily suspensions up 80%

Twitter continues to fight to keep terrorist groups and sympathizers from using its service.

The social network announced today that in the last six months it has suspended 235,000 accounts for violating its policies related to the promotion of terrorism. In February, Twitter reported that it had suspended 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 for terrorist-related reasons.

That means Twitter has suspended 360,000 accounts since the middle of last year.

"Since that [February] announcement, the world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe," the company wrote in a blog post. "We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform."

Twitter also reported that daily suspensions are up more than 80% since last year, with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks.

"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," the company said. "As noted by numerous third parties, our efforts continue to drive meaningful results, including a significant shift in this type of activity off of Twitter."

There has been increasing focus on trying to keep terrorist groups, whether it's ISIS or homegrown white supremacists, from using social networks like Twitter and Facebook to communicate, call for attacks and to recruit new members.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton even raised the issue during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last month. "We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won't be easy or quick, but make no mistake - we will prevail," Clinton said.

Social media, including sites like YouTube and instant messaging service Telegram, have been used for years. Those sites are fighting back, too.

Facebook previously reported that it has suspended accounts it found were associated with radicalized groups.

Today, Twitter noted that it not only is suspending accounts, but is making it harder for those suspended to return to the platform.

"We have expanded the teams that review reports around the clock, along with their tools and language capabilities," Twitter said. "We also collaborate with other social platforms, sharing information and best practices for identifying terrorist content... Finally, we continue to work with law enforcement entities seeking assistance with investigations to prevent or prosecute terror attacks."

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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