Twitter on Friday offered some interesting new information about its efforts to fight against terrorist organizations such as Islamic State, as the social networking site revealed that it has shut down over 125,000 different accounts related to terrorism since mid-2015. This sort of effort is important because ISIS in particular has proven very adept at using Twitter and other forms of social media to reach prospective recruits.
Specifically, Twitter says that it has worked to identify thousands of accounts that have either promoted terrorism or threatened to commit terrorism against various targets.
“We have increased the size of the teams that review reports, reducing our response time significantly,” Twitter explains. “We also look into other accounts similar to those reported and leverage proprietary spam-fighting tools to surface other potentially violating accounts for review by our agents. We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter.”
While this is good news, it’s also the case that ISIS and other groups are likely creating new accounts just as quickly as they’re being shut down. All the same, it still takes time to rebuild follower counts after an account gets shut down and this campaign is likely disruptive to the group’s online recruitment operations.
Twitter notes that “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,” which means it’s possible that some accounts were suspended that had nothing to do with terrorism. At the same time, Twitter and other sites should be given credit for being proactive in combating a very real threat.