Twitter said Friday that it was taking a stronger stance against violent extremism and announced it had deleted more than 125,000 accounts linked to Daesh members or supporters.
The microblogging platform claimed in a statement that it had begun since the middle of last year a more engaged campaign against accounts that threaten or support violent extremism with a primary focus on curbing Daesh’s ability to recruit online.
“We condemn the use of Twitter to promote violent terrorism,” the company noted in the statement. “This type of behavior, or any violent threats, is not permitted on our service.”
Not only has Twitter shut down thousands of accounts, it has vastly increased the amount of resources allocated for reviewing flagged accounts, shortening response time.
The company claimed that it now uses an algorithm to find extremist accounts that is similar to its systems for sniffing out and removing spam.
“We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter,” Twitter contended.
The proclamation showcases a new level of cooperation between Silicon Valley and world governments in fighting the influence of Daesh. Unlike past extremist groups with similar views, Daesh has proven very successful in leveraging social media to organize, publicize its acts and recruit new members, especially from the Internet-obsessed West.
While many social media platforms have policies banning violent extremists, how they implementing these rules has often been shrouded in secrecy due to free speech concerns and other obstacles.
But Daesh’s savviness with social media has demanded a new era of digital policing; a 2015 Brookings Institute report found that Daesh-supporting Twitter accounts had an average of roughly 1,000 followers each, noticeably higher than most ordinary users.
Many companies such as Twitter are also finding out that discovering extremism online is a challenge.
“There is no ‘magic algorithm’ for identifying terrorist content on the Internet, so global online platforms are forced to make challenging judgement calls based on very limited information and guidance,” Twitter said.