Social Media

Twitter suspends 300,000 accounts tied to terrorism

Twitter announced that it suspended nearly 300,000 accounts globally linked to terrorism, in the first half of the year. Of those, roughly 95 per cent were identified by the company’s spam-fighting automation tools.

TWITTER Inc., under pressure from governments around the world to combat online extremism, said that improving automation tools are helping block accounts that promote terrorism and violence.

Meanwhile, the social network said government data requests continued to increase, and that it provided authorities with data on roughly 3,900 accounts from January to June.

The increasing role of machines in fighting extremism is a function of necessity, with manually identifying violent material within the millions of messages sent every day an impossible task.

The efforts to stop accounts linked to terrorism have been important after numerous reports flourished in 2014 claiming that al Qaeda and the Islamic State were using Twitter to recruit members and to promote their propaganda.

“We have suspended a total of 935,897 accounts for the promotion of terrorism in the period of August 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017,” a statement said on Twitter’s website.

Twitter currently has around 328 million users, with monthly active users in the US around 68 million.

Twitter said about 75 per cent of the blocked accounts this year were spotted before a single tweet was sent, and that 935,897 accounts had been suspended since August 2015, with two-thirds of those coming in the past year.

“Our anti-spam tools are getting faster, more efficient and smarter in how we take down accounts that violate our policy,” Twitter said in the statement.

The company is balancing a commitment to free speech against pressure from policymakers who want to see social media companies do more to fight extremism and hate speech.

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