Twitter suspended 1.2 million accounts for terrorist promotion

Seventy-four percent of those accounts were suspended before their first Tweet, Twitter said.
By Kevin Eli,
Twitter says it has suspended 1.21 million accounts for the "promotion of terrorism" from 2015 to the end of 2017.

Twitter says it has suspended 1.21 million accounts for the "promotion of terrorism" from 2015 to the end of 2017, a move it claims has made its social network an "undesirable place" for violent content.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said it permanently suspended 274,460 accounts between 1 July and 31 December 2017 "for violations related to the promotion of terrorism." The figure is down 8.4 percent from the volume shared in the previous reporting period and is the second consecutive decline.

"We continue to see the positive, significant impact of years of hard work making our site an undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism, resulting in this type of activity increasingly shifting away from Twitter," the social networking service said in its blog.

The online giant claims that it suspended 1,210,357 accounts from its platform for reasons related to terrorism. Ninety-three percent were flagged by internal, proprietary tools, and 74% of those accounts were suspended before their first Tweet. Less than 0.2 percent of those suspensions are as a result of governments filing reports with the company, Twitter noted.

Most governments predominantly in non-Islamic countries are keen on pushing a counter-terrorism strategy that involves applying pressure on social media titans, seen by the public at large as the root cause of terror propaganda. Last September British Prime Minister Theresa May and her French and Italian counterparts, Emmanuel Macron and Paul Gentiloni said they would consider more robust action, including imposing fines on companies that fail to act as per the anti-terrorism guidelines set by the respective governments and the European Union.

“With the passage of new legislation and ongoing regulatory discussions taking place around the world about the future of public discourse online, we are seeing a potential chilling effect with regards to freedom of expression,” Twitter's statement noted. The company quoted Human Rights Watch report to indicate that, “the wave of regulatory pressure in Europe and beyond is setting an emerging precedent and creating a “domino effect” as “governments around the world increasingly look to restrict online speech by forcing social media companies to act as their censors.”

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