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. As the nature of the terrorist threat has changed, so has our ongoing work in this area. Since the middle of 2015 alone, we’ve suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.
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.
Our efforts have not stopped there. We have increased the size of the teams that review reports, reducing our response time significantly. We also look into other accounts similar to those reported and leverage proprietary spam-fighting tools to surface other potentially violating accounts for review by our agents. We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter.
We cooperate with law enforcement entities when appropriate. In July 2015, FBI Director James Comey recognized Twitter’s commitment to blocking terrorist content, praising us as “very good and thoughtful and hardworking at trying to shut down [terrorism-related] accounts.”
We also partner with organizations working to counter extremist content online. Beginning in late 2013, our global public policy team embarked upon an ambitious outreach campaign, attending over 40 countering violent extremism (CVE) events and trainings on four continents. We partnered with respected organizations such as People Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to empower credible non-governmental voices against violent extremism. We also attended government-convened summits on CVE hosted by the White House, the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, the UK government, the French Prime Minister, the European Commission, and the United Nations.
As an open platform for expression, we have always sought to strike a balance between the enforcement of our own Twitter Rules covering prohibited behaviors, the legitimate needs of law enforcement, and the ability of users to share their views freely – including views that some people may disagree with or find offensive.
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 judgement calls based on very limited information and guidance. 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.
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