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Twitter Says It Took Down 125,000 ISIS-Related Accounts Since Last Year

Twitter says it's doing its part.

Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Twitter says it is doing its part to combat terrorism online. The company announced today that it has “suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts primarily related to ISIS” since the middle of last year.

That’s a lot of accounts, and it’s possible some of them were created by the same people who get booted then come right back to create another one. This is one of the challenges for Twitter, which offers its users anonymity (unlike, say, Facebook).

A study released in the fall by George Washington University found that Twitter was indeed the platform of choice for ISIS propagandists in part because creating accounts is so simple.

Twitter does not actively look for terrorist accounts, but instead relies on users to report them. When this happens, though, the company will look at “similar” accounts to see if they violate the company’s terms of service, which prohibit things like violent threats.

Twitter says it has also “increased the size of the teams that review reports, reducing [its] response time significantly” on reported accounts.

This is all good news for government officials, who have been vocal in requesting that social networks like Facebook and Twitter take a more active role in weeding out the bad guys. Both companies claim to do everything in their power to remove these accounts and this material, but they don’t go actively hunting it.

This makes it a challenging job, Twitter wrote in its blog.

“As many experts and other companies have noted, there is no ‘magic algorithm’ for identifying terrorist content on the Internet,” the post reads, “so global online platforms are forced to make challenging judgement calls based on very limited information and guidance.”

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