With the rise of tech-savvy terrorist groups like ISIS, social media has become a battleground where many of these organizations spread their propaganda and recruit new members. It’s been a particular problem for Twitter in recent times, but in the last 12 months the company has clamped down on accounts linked to terrorism.
Earlier this year, Twitter revealed it had suspended over 125,000 accounts since the middle of 2015 for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS. In the six months since that announcement, the microblogging site has suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for violating its policies related to terrorism - making a total of 360,000 suspensions across the previous 12 months.
Twitter admits that fighting online extremism is a challenge and that there is no “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist content. However, thanks to its spam-fighting tools and reports from other users, daily suspensions are up 80 percent since last year.
"Our work is not done," the company said. "Our efforts continue to drive meaningful results, including a significant shift in this type of activity off of Twitter."
The news comes just as people are calling for social media sites to be held accountable for the material they host. A father of a US student who was killed in the Paris attacks last year is suing Twitter, Google and Facebook, alleging that the companies provide “material support” to Isis and other extremist groups.
The wives of two Americans who were killed in a Jordan terrorist attack last November sued Twitter for allegedly violating the Anti-Terrorism Act by giving Isis support to spread its message. A federal judge in San Francisco dismissed their case last week, saying that Twitter was not responsible for what third parties posted online.
Twitter’s terms of service policy came under the spotlight last month when it removed the account of Breitbart’s tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos following accusations that he encouraged his supporters to send abusive tweets to Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.