Twitter suspends 235k accounts promoting terrorism and extremism

20 Aug 2016 | By Ramya

Microblogging site Twitter said it had suspended 235,000 accounts promoting terrorism over the past six months.

The social media giant added it was a part of its continuing effort to keep people from using Twitter for extremist causes.

Several of those accounts reportedly were of the Islamic State supporters.

Daily suspension of accounts increased by 80% since 2015, after a series of terror attacks.

In context: Social media cracking down on terrorism

Social Media & TerrorismTerror attacks carried out by online recruits

In Mar'16, a series of bombings in Brussels left dozens dead.

Investigations showed the Brussels bombings and other recent terror attacks were carried out by terrorists recruited through social media.

The technique reminded social networks of the immediate need to address the issue.

EU Commissioner Vĕra Jourová stated: "Social media is, unfortunately, one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalize young people".

20 Aug 2016Twitter suspends 235k accounts promoting terrorism and extremism

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Abhorrent terror attacks across the globe

In a statement, Twitter said: "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."

Six-month periodEfforts to counter terrorists' tweets

Twitter's latest move brings the total number of Twitter accounts suspended by the company to 360,000 since it began counterattacking terrorism in mid-2015.

In Feb'16, Twitter had made clear it was stepping up its fight to thwart terrorism; 125,000 accounts associated with extremism and terrorism were reportedly suspended.

Twitter - for the first time - publicized the number of accounts it had suspended.

New FeaturesTwitter introduces new features

Twitter has also introduced new features to give its users more control over their interactions on the social media service.

Features like adding a filter to improve the quality of tweets a user sees by weeding out automated posts or duplicate messages have been introduced.

Tech entrepreneur and activist Anil Dash, however, said the introduced features do not solve Twitter's underlying abuse issues.

Twitter's ability to talk about abuse

Anil Dash said: "The news about banned accounts and new tools is really good, but Twitter has been doing those things for a long time. This has more to do with Twitter's ability to talk about abuse than it is a big change in policy."
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Quality FilterTwitter's quality filter to curb online abuse

Twitter has finally rolled out the "quality filter" - accessible to all its users - to curb persistent online abuse.

The feature - available only for some verified users last year - can monitor offensive language (from trolls to threatenings), spam bots, and duplicate accounts.

Online abuse mostly impacts women and despite reports, Twitter didn't take comprehensive steps to curb it in the past.

Free SpeechGlobal town square

Twitter has always promoted free speech in the online space calling it a "global town square", which has drawn the attention of racists, bullies, and extremist outfits to spread their messages.

Twitter is trying to find a method to reconcile its free speech stance and combat terrorism.

Suspensions for violating the social network's prohibition on extremism on terrorism are on the rise since 2015.

ViolationsTwitter expands its teams

Twitter has reportedly expanded its teams, which review the reported violations.

The social media giant stated it now acts faster in order to suspend the reported accounts along with making it harder for the suspended users to return to Twitter.

It added that the number groups which work with Twitter have also been expanded to combat violent extremism and terrorism online.