Twitter suspends further 235,000 accounts in crackdown on terror

Nearly a quarter of a million Twitter accounts have been suspended for supporting extremist activity since February, the social media company announced yesterday.


This adds to the 125,000 that had been closed down for promoting terrorism prior to February, Twitter said in a statement.

"Since that announcement, the world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe," the company said. "We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform."

The number of accounts suspended is up 80 per cent compared to the year before, Twitter said.

The social media giant has been frequently criticised for its policies regarding suspension, and the amount of terrorism-promoting activity on the platform. There are frequently debates regarding whether it should be upholding the right to free speech or combatting bullying, terrorism promotion and the degradation of women and minorities. Recently the contrarian Milo Yiannopoulos was banned for criticism of Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, while it is only very recently that notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary had his account suspended.

Twitter said yesterday that it is getting faster at suspending accounts reported for terrorism, and has expanded the teams that review accounts. It also said it is working with outside organisations "to empower credible non-governmental voices against violent extremism". It has not released figures regarding the number of accounts suspended for other reasons.

"As we mentioned in February, and other companies and experts have also noted, there is no one 'magic algorithm' for identifying terrorist content on the Internet," the statement said. "But we continue to utilize other forms of technology... over the past six months these tools have helped us to automatically identify more than one third of the accounts we ultimately suspended for promoting terrorism."