Twitter’s hammer has come down hard on 235,000 accounts over acts of terrorism. As Twitter puts it, the accounts affected were suspended “for violating our policies related to promotion of terrorism in the six months since our February 2016 post.”
This takes the total number of accounts suspended by the microblogging platform since 2015 to 350,000. Last year, the company wielded the big stick when it suspended 125,000 accounts for promoting or threatening to promote terrorism.
The truth is that Twitter’s policy on terrorism and violent extremism is quite clear, the platform continues to be a sort of safe haven for religious and political extremists. Cases of harassment and threats are rampant on the site, with more and more people either setting their accounts to private or quitting the platform completely.
A brief excerpt from the company’s Support Page is clear on what punishment awaits anyone or group that violates its policy:
“In order to protect the experience and safety of people who use Twitter, there are some limitations on the type of content and behavior that we allow. All users must adhere to the policies set forth in the Twitter Rules. Failure to do so may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s).”
On threats and terrorism, an excerpt from the page states:
“Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.”
Twitter’s policy also prohibits hateful conduct from users on the platform:
“Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.”
Twitter already has a team in place to monitor rates of violation and harassment on his site, but it seems the team is currently being overwhelmed by the job at hand. Twitter is quite aware of this and has also expanded the teams responsible for reviewing reports on violation of its policy. The task before the teams is quite enormous as Twitter said daily suspension on the platform is on the increase:
“Daily suspensions are up over 80 percent since last year, with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks. Our response time for suspending reported accounts, the amount of time these accounts are on Twitter, and the number of followers they accumulate have all decreased dramatically.”
One area Twitter needs to look into is the ease at which new accounts spring up immediately after being suspended. Opening a new Twitter account doesn’t take time, and probably explains why individuals behind suspended accounts easily find their ways to the platform in a breeze. While the company said it has expanded the teams that review “reports around the clock, along with tools and language abilities,” it remains to be seen how this helps to solve the problem.
On Thursday, Twitter announced two new features aimed at helping users deal with harassment on the platform.
Do you think steps taken so far by Twitter will help to reduce or eradicate threats of terrorism on the network?