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Ouch! Twitter’s banhammer slams down on ISIS harder than ever

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Twitter has banned 235,000 “extremist” accounts in a bid to stem the social media influence of terrorist groups like so-called Islamic State.

The company today confirmed the new suspensions, revealing that the total number of pro-terrorism accounts banned now totals 360,000, up from the 125,000 reported in the middle of 2015. Speaking about the additional bans since last year, Twitter wrote:

Since [last year’s] announcement, the world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe. We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence of terrorism on our platform.”

The company also added that its “work is not done”, which suggests that the social media platform – with its 313-million strong monthly active user base – will suspend more accounts in the future. In fact, daily suspensions are already up over 80% since last year, with Twitter reporting “spikes” in bans immediately following terrorist attacks.

Twitter has been widely criticised over its apparent facilitation of terrorist propaganda online, but the company is making clear strides to address the issue. According to a recent blog post, Twitter’s 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”. Unfortunately, there’s still plenty be done to quash terrorism on Twitter:

“As we mentioned in February…there is no one ‘magic algorithm’ for identifying terrorist content on the internet. But we continue to utilise other forms of technology, like proprietary spam-fighting tools, to supplement reports from our users and help identify account abuse.”

These tools have, over the past six months, helped Twitter to automatically identify over a third of the accounts it eventually suspended for terrorism promotion. More progress will be included in the company’s next Transparency Report, which we’re expecting to be published at the start of 2017.

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Do you think Twitter needs to do more to tackle extremism, or is it already doing enough? Let us know in the comments.

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