Twitter revealed on Thursday that over the last six months it’s suspended 235,000 accounts for promoting extremism and terror.
The figure adds to the 125,000 users it kicked off the site between mid-2015 and February, bringing the total so far to 360,000.
Keen for people to understand the huge challenge it faces in tracking down the constant stream of new accounts promoting violent extremism, the San Francisco company said in a post that there’s no “magic algorithm” for discovering terrorist content on the internet, adding that it continues to “utilize other forms of technology, like proprietary spam-fighting tools, to supplement reports from our users and help identify repeat account abuse.”
News that Twitter is making some progress with its anti-extremism efforts follow several years of criticism accusing the service of doing too little to tackle the issue.
As part of wider moves to clamp down on the dissemination of extremist material online, leading executives from Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others met for talks with White House officials at the start of this year. Similar meetings have also taken place with the government of France, a country that’s been hit multiple times by high-profile terror attacks over the last 18 months.
Twitter said in Thursday’s post that daily suspensions are up by more than 80 percent since last year, “with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks.”
Importantly, it’s continuing to speed up the time it takes to suspend reported accounts that violate its policies, an improvement that ensures such accounts are taken offline before they have a chance to accumulate a large number of followers.
— مركز صواب (@sawabcenter) July 13, 2016
The microblogging service also claimed to have made some headway in disrupting the ability of suspended users to immediately return to the platform, though it didn’t offer any details about how it does this.
Increased collaboration with other social networks has also had a positive impact on its efforts, Twitter said, adding that it also continues to work with law enforcement to assist with relevant inquiries that may prevent or help to prosecute terror attacks.
Despite the extra efforts clearly being made by the company, it acknowledges that chasing down extremist accounts is an endless whack-a-mole endeavor, saying in its post, “Our work is not done.”
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