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Twitter has suspended one million accounts for promoting terrorism

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Twitter officially declared war to some of its users. Within the last two years, the social platform took down almost one million accounts that were terrorism-related.

If every social network promoted freedom of speech on their platforms, some boundaries cannot be crossed still. And that is what Twitter exactly showed today, announcing that nearly a million Twitter accounts have been suspended for promoting terrorism in less than two years. More precisely, the microblogging site, that counts 328 million users, took down “935,897 accounts for violating its rules on the promotion of terrorism from the start of August 2015 to the end of June this year”, as it was revealed yesterday.

The statistics highlighted the fact that, in the first half of this year, the number of suspensions had been lower than in the past, which would then lead to think that the social platform has become more peaceful in the last months. Concretely, from January to June 2017, 299,649 accounts were suspended over terror-related violations, which represents a 20% decrease compared with the previous six months. “Our research shows that the platform is no longer a conducive space for IS supporters. Twitter’s aggressive pro-IS account takedown activity means that the once vibrant and extensive IS Twitter network is now almost non-existent”, had written Maura Conway and a team of researchers at Vox-pol, an EU-funded academic network focused on violent online political extremism, last August.

Besides the fact that there are less and less profiles to suspend, it is also important to note that 75% of the accounts took down were deleted even before posting their first tweet thanks to the social network’s technology. “In the last six months we have seen our internal, spam-fighting tools play an increasingly valuable role in helping us get terrorist content off of Twitter”, a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Our anti-spam tools are getting faster, more efficient, and smarter in how we take down accounts that violate our T.O.S”.

In an article published on its blog, Twitter precised that “95% of these account suspensions were the result of our internal efforts to combat this content with proprietary tools, up from 74% in our last transparency report”. On the other hand, government requests accounted for less than 1% of account suspensions. So it’s clearer than ever, in 2017, that the microblogging site is leading its own war on terrorism, in order to only give and show the best to its users.

Celine Pastezeur

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