Twitter suspends almost 250,000 accounts with 'terror' links

#IslamicState

Twitter has now closed more than 360,000 accounts since mid-2015 but says there is no 'magic algorithm' to track down abusers

Twitter says there is no 'magic algorithm' to try and identify accounts promoting groups like the Islamic State (AFP)
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Friday 19 August 2016 10:51 UTC
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Twitter has suspended 235,000 accounts believed to have links to militant groups like the Islamic State, the company said.

The accounts have all been taken down over the last six months and come on top of the 125,000 account suspensions that have happened since the middle of last year, Twitter said in a statement on Tuesday.

Daily suspensions of accounts are up more than 80 percent since last year, and spike in the immediate aftermath of attacks claimed by militant groups, Twitter said in a statement posted on its blog.

 The announcement comes following a surge in militant attacks on western targets this year, as well as a growing push from Washington to clamp down on these kinds of accounts that are used to spread propaganda, recruit new supporters and even coordinate attacks.

Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook have always tried to play a fine line between trying to protect free speech, while not providing a platform for violent groups to spread their propaganda.

They have repeatedly dismissed criticism that they are not doing enough, by stressing that closing down accounts can be extremely tricky, with users tending to just set up new ones, although Twitter says it is working hard to make it harder for people to re-open accounts once banned. 

Twitter said in its statement there was no “magic algorithm” to identify terrorist content and that it was striving to perfect its search and tracking abilities.