Inc. announced Friday that it had deleted 125,000
terrorist-related accounts in the last seven months.
moves comes after months of criticism from President
Barack Obama and others who complained that social media
companies weren’t doing enough to stifle extremist
Twitter was light on details about the deleted accounts
and how the process works. It said only that more
workers were reviewing accounts, leading to increased
and faster deletions.
San Francisco company didn’t immediately respond to
requests for comment.
125,000 figure doesn’t mean that that many suspected
terrorists may have tried to use Twitter, because an
individual or group could have created new accounts
after being banned previously. But the company suggested
that it’s dominating the whack-a-mole game, saying —
without citing specific evidence — that terrorist talk
is "shifting off of Twitter."
Obama administration still would like Twitter to find a
better way to deal with the constant creation of new
accounts by the same people.
(Twitter) are still not doing enough," a U.S.
official familiar with discussions with Twitter
executives said in an interview. "They don’t put
a lot of resources into this. … What does it matter if
they take down an account and instead of ‘@ISILTerrorist001,’
it is ‘@ISILTerrorist002’ two minutes later?"
authorities say terrorists have used Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube, Telegram and other apps to recruit and organize
members. Authorities want to stop the spread of
extremist propaganda while gaining access to private
messages that might tip them off to impending terrorist
attacks. But tech companies, many of them based in
California, fear violating free speech rights and prying
into users’ conversations.
multiple meetings with Twitter executives over the past
year, Department of Justice and Homeland Security
officials have asked the company to take more aggressive
steps, the official said, speaking on condition of
anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
don’t want to be seen as the command-and-control
mechanism that allows Islamic State to do what it
does," the official said.
it wasn’t only U.S. government pressure that motivated
Twitter to announce how many accounts have been taken
down in the past several months, the official said.
realize it is not a good thing to be known as the social
media platform that ISIL uses most to spread their hate
and horrible things," the official said, using an
alternative acronym for the Islamic State terrorist
organization. Officials were particularly incensed last
year when Islamic State used Twitter to post the names
and addresses of U.S. military personnel.
called its removal decisions "challenging judgment
calls based on very limited information and
guidance" because "there is no ‘magic
algorithm’ for identifying terrorist content on the
Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House
Intelligence Committee, called Twitter’s efforts to
remove terrorist content "a very positive
the use of social media by terrorists will require a
sustained and cooperative effort between the technology
sector, the intelligence community and law
enforcement," Schiff said in a statement Friday.
has about 320 million users and is seeing only modest
growth. It vowed to continue to work with authorities to
find additional solutions.