Twitter has constantly been under fire for not being able to curb harassment, online abuse and use by terrorist groups such as ISIS. The company has, however, suspended more than 635,000 terrorism-related accounts in an 18-month time span between mid-2015 and the end of 2016, according to TechCrunch.

Twitter Terrorism
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Twitter is using all help to identify culprit accounts

These accounts have been found to be violating the company’s terms of use. The micro-blogging firm says its own “internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools” identified nearly 75% of the culprit accounts.

Twitter recently issued its biannual Transparency Report, in which it has added a new section to inform readers about the number of accounts it has suspended. Of all the accounts suspended, only 2% were done on TOS requests from the government related to terrorism. The company reported that it had received complaints regarding 5,929 accounts and found that 85% of them actually violated its terms of use.

Identifying terrorist content on the Internet is not easy, and there is no magical algorithm. Hence, Twitter must make tough decisions based on limited information and guidance. To do so, its Global Public Policy team has entered into extended partnerships with organizations that are working to counter violent extremism online. It is also working with groups like People Against Violent Extremism and the Lumen project to take on terrorism.

Making the Transparency Report more transparent

Also in its Transparency Report, the company stated that governments or law enforcement agencies and courts issued 5,031 content removal requests and 894 orders, respectively, in the second half of 2016, on as many as 13,022 accounts. About 19% of the cases had some objectionable content, and they were treated accordingly, (i.e., 367 accounts and 1,113 tweets were withheld completely, while on 2,245 accounts, objectionable content was removed).

In a blog post, Jeremy Kessel, director of global legal policy, wrote: “Behind the scenes, we’ve begun the necessary work to include details about terms of service requests we receive from official government requesters through our standard customer-support channels (as opposed to the data we already include based on legal requests).”

One of Twitter’s prime goals is to deter people from using its platform for activities such as promoting separatism, terrorism, harassment, hate speech, racism, etc. It has even charted out rules to prevent the promotion of violence.

One such rule says: “You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.”