Over a quarter million shut down
In an effort to thwart ISIS from recruiting and spreading propaganda online, Twitter has closed down a whopping 235,000 accounts for terrorist-related content. That brings the total to 360,000 accounts closed this year.
Suspensions increased by eighty percent
While other sites, like Facebook and YouTube, have long been weeding out terrorists from its user base, Twitter has lagged behind. The latest move may have been motivated by a lawsuit filed by the widow of Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr., an American contractor who was killed by ISIS. Fields’s widow sued Twitter last January, saying the social media platform was to blame for Fields’s death because they provided a platform for ISIS to recruit and fundraise.
Twitter claimed that they were not culpable for the death, and won the suit this month. Nonetheless, they’ve ramped up their effort to stamp out terrorist content from the site.
According to the company’s blog, daily suspensions have increased by 80 percent since last year, with more suspensions occurring immediately after terrorist attacks.
Nipping ISIS in the bud
Meanwhile, the company says that they’ve also sped up their response to reported accounts, closing them before they have a chance to rack up followers. Twitter is also working hard to prevent terrorists who are booted from the site from simply making another account under a different name. They’ve hired staff to specifically address the problem, and have improved the technologies they use to identify terrorist content.
While the company says there is no “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist recruiting online, their efforts nonetheless slow terrorist activity. Author and researcher J.M. Berger, who has studied the topic extensively, says that when an ISIS member loses their Twitter account, they are rarely able to fully recover their audience, even if they open an account under a new name.
Twitter has also expressed willingness to cooperate with law enforcement agencies investigating terrorism.