TWIT­TER VS ISIS

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Twit­ter has been pro­foundly crit­i­cized for not ef­fec­tively polic­ing the pres­ence of ex­trem­ist groups like ISIS/ISIL, the so-called Is­lamic State. Due to the ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Paris and in San Bernardino County, the pres­sure has heated up from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates.

The ex­trem­ist group uses so­cial net­work­ing sites such as Twit­ter and Face­book to spread mis­in­for­ma­tion and to at­tract and train new re­cruits. In the past, ISIS has used Twit­ter to pub­li­cize ex­e­cu­tions of ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties and cel­e­brate them.

Re­cently, Twit­ter de­clared that it has sus­pended more than 125,000 ac­counts since mid-2015 that were in­volved in threat­en­ing or pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ist acts in any man­ner. Later, it also con­firmed that the ma­jor­ity of ac­counts were re­lated to ISIS.

Twit­ter said that “We con­demn the use of Twit­ter to pro­mote ter­ror­ism.” The Us-based firm re­lies on users to alert the com­pany about any vi­o­la­tions to the com­pany’s poli­cies and has in­creased its re­port re­view­ing teams so as to re­act

faster. Twit­ter also said that “We have al­ready seen re­sults that in­clude an in­crease in ac­count sus­pen­sions and such ac­tiv­ity shift­ing off of Twit­ter.”

Af­ter an update on De­cem­ber 2015, Twit­ter rules put a blan­ket ban on hate­ful con­duct. It also has a pol­icy that ad­dresses the prob­lem of vi­o­lent threats – “You may not make threats of vi­o­lence, or pro­mote any vi­o­lent ac­tiv­ity, which in­cludes threat­en­ing or pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism.”

The state­ments also showed that it was dif­fi­cult to iden­tify PRO-ISIS tweets due to the nonex­is­tence of a “magic al­go­rithm” that might be ca­pa­ble of pin­point­ing on­line con­tent which is gen­uinely ter­ror­ist.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Depart­ment of De­fense have fre­quently re­ferred to the use of so­cial net­work­ing sites as a re­cruit­ment tool for the ISIS. Af­ter Twit­ter de­clared this news, the White House said that Twit­ter’s an­nounce­ment was “very much wel­come”.

Twit­ter is also co-oper­at­ing with law en­force­ment and on­line or­ga­ni­za­tions to work against the ter­ror­ist re­cruit­ment on­line and abuse.

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