Hackers using idle Twitter accounts to spread terrorist propaganda

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Credit: https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/02/hackers-islamic-state-propaganda-twitter/

Your idle Twitter account could be a source of spreading terrorist propaganda by the Islamic State, this is per TechCrunch. This is certainly not the best way to start the new year, and could spur Twitter to action, and you know what that means—your account could be suspended or banned.

According to Zack Whittaker of TechCrunch, several Twitter accounts affected by the attack appeared to have been hijacked in recent days or weeks, and some may be even longer. However, affected accounts are ones that have been abandoned for years by the owners. Hijacked accounts are identified by sudden shift in tweet tone, tweet in Arabic; with the hackers praising Allah or retweeting propaganda from another account.

While some of the accounts reviewed by TechCrunch have already been suspended by Twitter, some have not, and remain active. The truth is that such active accounts may not remain active for a long time as Twitter may take action to protect its platform from being abused by such invaders.

Reusing email addresses in this manner is not a new issue for Twitter or other online services,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch. “For our part, our teams are aware and are working to identify solutions that can help keep Twitter accounts safe and secure.”

Last April, Twitter said its efforts aimed at removing terrorist content from its platform was yielding progress. The company made the claim following the suspension of 1.2 million accounts for terrorist-related content. This information is contained in the company’s Transparency Report. Since 2015, over 1.2 million accounts have been suspended by the microblogging company over issues that bother on terrorist content on its platform.

The period in question is between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The report showed that 274,460 accounts were permanently suspended for violating its policy on promotion of terrorism.

Of the 274,460 accounts suspended in the last reporting period, 93 percent according to Twitter were flagged by internal, propriety tools, while 74 percent of those accounts were suspended before the first tweet.

Last December, the company began enforcing its new anti-abuse rules by suspending the accounts of leader and deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right group. The suspension was another Twitter’s attempt at combatting abuse on its platform. The issue of constant harassment on Twitter has been on for a while, and has led to the introduction of several rules in the past just to curb the menace.

In 2016, microblogging company rolled out stricter rules to fight hateful and abusive tweets. The company didn’t actually roll out new rules, but only amended and strengthened existing ones to encourage a safer platform for all.

At the start of March, The European Union ordered Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove terrorist content within an hour of being notified of its presence.


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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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