Twitter Reports Progress in Shutting Down ISIS Accounts

Photo: Terror Organization are reported to use social media to recruit new members across the globe. This Aug. 11, 2015, photo shows a hashtag on Twitter. Amer Ghazzal/Alamy
Terror Organization are reported to use social media to recruit new members across the globe. This Aug. 11, 2015, photo shows a hashtag on Twitter.

Twitter's pledge to eradicate terrorist-related accounts on its site has made great strides since the social media company devoted more resources to reviewing flagged reports and following through with suspending accounts, the company said today.

Since the middle of 2015, Twitter said it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts, many of which were supporting ISIS, according to a blog post today from Twitter. The social networking site has been leveraged by ISIS to recruit members and spread propaganda.

"Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups. We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service," the blog post said.

Twitter increased the size of its teams tasked with reviewing reports of potentially terror-related threats. The company said it has also taken a proactive approach by using its "proprietary spam-fighting tools" that are capable of surfacing accounts that could potentially be in violation.

The results have paid off with Twitter reporting "an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off Twitter."

“As many experts and other companies have noted, there is no ‘magic algorithm’ for identifying terrorist content on the internet, so global online platforms are forced to make challenging judgment calls based on very limited information and guidance,” Twitter said in a statement. “In spite of these challenges, we will continue to aggressively enforce our Rules in this area, and engage with authorities and other relevant organizations to find solutions to this critical issue and promote powerful counter-speech narratives.”

Twitter said it cooperates with law enforcement entities “when appropriate” and tries to strike a balance between legitimate security concerns and freedom of speech.