By Ken Yeung
Twitter is continuing its war on terror, reportedly saying it has suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for promoting terrorism and ISIS. Combined with the 125,000 accounts the company previous took offline in February, that brings the total number to 360,000.
As the company continues to straddle the border between free speech and safety, it has taken a hardline stance against what extreme violence by terrorist groups. Earlier this year, it explained its thinking: “Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups. 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.”
The suspension of more accounts is an effort to shut down lines of communication amongst these terror groups and stop the spread of their extremist and hateful messages.
Today’s announcement comes weeks after a U.S. judge dismissed a lawsuit against Twitter brought forth by Tamara Fields, whose husband was killed in an attack on a police training center in Amman, Jordan last year. It was alleged that Twitter “knowingly let the militant Islamist group (ISIS) use its network to spread propaganda, raise money, and attract recruits.” The judge stated that Twitter was protected from liability by federal law.
But while Twitter does its part to take down terror groups on its platform, there are others that question why the company is unable to effectively police users who are harassing others. Twitter continues to say that it’s working on solutions to this and chief executive Jack Dorsey acknowledged during the company’s second quarter earnings call that it had dropped the ball, promising that new technology solutions were on the way. He affirmed that while Twitter is a place for “civil discourse”, abuse was not part of it.
“No one deserves to be a target of abuse online and it doesn’t have a place on Twitter,” he remarked.
We’ve reached out to Twitter for additional comment and will update if we hear back.
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