Twitter suspended 360,000 accounts for ‘promotion of terrorism’

Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism over the last six months, as part of a continuing effort to keep people from using the social network for extremist causes, the company said Thursday.

Twitter said its daily suspensions of terrorism-linked accounts have jumped 80 percent since last year and that it has reduced its response time.

Watchdog groups praised Twitter’s swift response to online celebrations from Islamic extremists glorifying a July truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people.

Although the company says an algorithm cannot identify extremist propaganda, it relies on spam-fighting tools to help identify repeat offenders, including those who create new accounts when they are suspended.It introduced new features to give people more control over their interactions on the service, including adding a filter to improve the quality of the tweets someone sees by weeding out duplicate messages or automated posts.

Yet Anil Dash, a tech entrepreneur and activist, said Twitter’s actions did not solve the service’s underlying abuse issues. Even if extremist content and accounts are suspended, people on Twitter can still organize in ways that put others at risk, such as publishing and widely sharing someone’s personal information and home address.

“The news about banned accounts and new tools is really good, but Twitter has been doing those things for a long time,” Mr. Dash said. “This has more to do with Twitter’s ability to talk about abuse than it is a big change in policy.”

“Our work is not done,” the blog post said, adding: “Our efforts continue to drive meaningful results, including a significant shift in this type of activity off of Twitter.


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