Twitter has just released its bi-annual transparency report, revealing the microblogging site’s continuing crackdown on extremist material. In final six months of 2016, it suspended 377,000 accounts for “violations related to promotion of terrorism.”
That works out at about 63,000 nixed accounts per month, an increase of about 24,000 per month compared to the same period a year earlier. 74 percent of the suspended accounts were surfaced by its own “internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools.” A big improvement compared to last year when the same tools identified only one-third of accounts that were suspended for terrorism-related reasons.
The report also states that between August 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016, Twitter suspended a total of 636,248 extremist accounts. The company said it would be sharing “future updates on our efforts to combat violent extremism by including them in this new section of our transparency report.”
Early last 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. It suspended a further 235,000 accounts for violating its policies related to terrorism in the six months following the announcement.
The report is the first to note the number of government requests Twitter receives to take down posts from journalists and news organizations. “Given the concerning global trend of various governments cracking down on press freedom, we want to shine a brighter light on these requests,” it writes. “During this reporting period, Twitter received 88 legal requests from around the world directing us to remove content posted by verified journalists or news outlet accounts.”
“We did not take any action on the majority of these requests, with limited exceptions in Germany and Turkey, the latter of which accounted for 88% of all requests of this nature. For example, we were compelled to withhold Tweets sharing graphic imagery following terror attacks in Turkey in response to a court order.”
Twitter will no doubt be pleased with the statistics. It has long been accused of not doing enough to battle extremism on the platform, which terror groups have used to recruit new members.