Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism
Twitter Inc. (TWTR) disclosed Tuesday it had suspended hundreds of thousands of accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism.
According to the social media network, it suspended 376,890 accounts between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, and a total of 636,248 accounts from Aug. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016. Twitter said of the suspensions, 74% of the accounts were identified by internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools while less than 2% of the suspensions came from requests by a government. Twitter released the information in its transparency report, which it has issued twice a year since 2012. While Twitter had previously given updates about the suspension of accounts associated with terrorism and extremism in blog posts, this marks the first time it included the numbers in the report. Twitter plans to include suspension numbers in future transparency reports, as well.
Stepping Up Policing
While Twitter has previously engaged in suspending accounts that are associated with terrorism, in recent months it's been stepping up its policing of its social media network to weed out abusive and violent behavior. For Twitter, the stakes are high. With advertisers increasingly spending their ad dollars on competing social networks like Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter has to give companies reasons to want to advertise on its social network. (See also: Twitter: CEO Dorsey Facing Calls to Step Down.)
In February, the embattled social media company quietly started rolling out a feature that temporarily limits a user's Twitter reach if they break the rules such as cursing out a lawmaker or otherwise engaging in abusive or bad behavior. The new feature, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, basically puts the user in a timeout where only people in his or her network can view their tweets for a limited period of time. The feature was put to use in a prominent way shortly after news reports surfaced about it when David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader's Twitter account was suspended for a temporary period of time without Twitter giving a reason for the penalty. Twitter and Facebook have come under attack for not doing enough to prevent abusive behavior on their social networks and have been increasingly taking steps to counter that.