Twitter shuts down 125000 accounts linked to IS, other groups

Twitter is using spam-fighting technology to seek out and automatically flag accounts that might be promoting terrorist activity.

The company announced it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts on its social media site for threatening or promoting terrorist acts mainly related to the Islamic State group in the last eight months.

The news signals a move toward automation as the U.S. government has pressured social media companies to respond more aggressively to reports of abuse.

‘Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups,’ Twitter said.

‘We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service.

‘As the nature of the terrorist threat has changed, so has our ongoing work in this area. Since the middle of 2015 alone, we’ve suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.’

The firm also said ithas increased the size of the teams that review reports, reducing response time significantly.

‘We also look into other accounts similar to those reported and leverage proprietary spam-fighting tools to surface other potentially violating accounts for review by our agents.

‘We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter.’

The firm also said it cooperates with law enforcement entities ‘when appropriate’ on the project.

In July 2015, FBI Director James Comey recognized Twitter’s commitment to blocking terrorist content, praising us as ‘very good and thoughtful and hardworking at trying to shut down [terrorism-related] accounts.’ 

The firm said it has ‘always sought to strike a balance between the enforcement of our own Twitter Rules covering prohibited behaviors, the legitimate needs of law enforcement, and the ability of users to share their views freely – including views that some people may disagree with or find offensive.’