Twit­ter sus­pends 125,000 ac­counts in ‘ter­ror­ist con­tent’ crack­down

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Twit­ter sus­pended over 125,000 ac­counts, most of them linked to the Daesh group, as part of a stepped-up ef­fort to erad­i­cate "ter­ror­ist con­tent" on the pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing plat­form, it said on Fri­day.

The ac­counts frozen since mid-2015 were tar­geted "for threat­en­ing or pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ist acts," said Twit­ter, which is un­der pres­sure from gov­ern­ments to act but faces a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act and is keen not to be seen to be ef­fec­tively cen­sor­ing free speech.

"Like most peo­ple around the world, we are hor­ri­fied by the atroc­i­ties per­pe­trated by ex­trem­ist groups," Twit­ter said on its pol­icy blog. "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."

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter the United States and other gov­ern­ments urged so­cial net­works to take more ag­gres­sive steps to root out ac­tiv­ity aimed at re­cruit­ing and plan­ning vi­o­lent acts.

Twit­ter said it al­ready has rules to dis­cour­age this ac­tiv­ity but that it was driv

ing up

en­force­ment by boost­ing staff and us­ing tech­nol­ogy to fil­ter vi­o­lence-pro­mot­ing con­tent. But it warned there is no easy tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tion. "As many ex­perts and other com­pa­nies have noted, there is no 'magic al­go­rithm' for iden­ti­fy­ing ter­ror­ist con­tent on the In­ter­net, so global on­line plat­forms are forced to make chal­leng­ing judg­ment calls based on very lim­ited in­for­ma­tion and guid­ance," Twit­ter said.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has also called for talks with ma­jor so­cial me­dia net­works. And France passed emer­gency mea­sures last year that could shut down web­sites or so­cial me­dia ac­counts which en­cour­age ter­ror­ist ac­tions. Twit­ter said it has long sought to en­force its rules on pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence, while main­tain­ing an open plat­form. By ramp­ing up the ef­forts, Twit­ter said, "we have al­ready seen re­sults, in­clud­ing an in­crease in ac­count sus­pen­sions and this type of ac­tiv­ity shift­ing off of Twit­ter."

Last March, Face­book up­dated its "com­mu­nity stan­dards," say­ing this would curb the use of the so­cial net­work gi­ant for pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism or hate speech.

The up­date said Face­book will not al­low a pres­ence from groups ad­vo­cat­ing "ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity, or­ga­nized crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity or pro­mot­ing hate." The move came af­ter videos of grue­some ex­e­cu­tions ap­peared on Face­book and other so­cial me­dia as part of Daesh group pro­pa­ganda ef­forts.

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