BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Twitter announced Thursday that it has suspended or closed 235,000 accounts which promoted extremism on its platform. The company said that the move is part of its ongoing efforts to stymie terrorism.
In a blog post, the microblogging site noted that humanity has recently witnessed a tidal wave of terrorist attacks all over the world. Twitter said that it “strongly condemn[s]” the attacks and pledged to prevent extremism on its social media platform.
The latest suspended accounts are now added to 125,000 more accounts which have been shut down since mid-2015, when the site launched an anti-terror campaign on the platform.
But the move was met with some criticism as it seems to be at odds with Twitter’s promises to promote free speech on the Internet. The company replied that this attitude benefited bullies, extremists, and supremacists more than conventional users.
The high levels of racism, sexism, and homophobia on the platform had some echoes across government agencies and politicians. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has slammed the service for not doing more to prevent hate-promoting talk among its users.
Twitter is now seeking a way to promote both free speech and respect towards women and minorities. But in the case of terrorists, the company shows no mercy. Users that promote terrorist activities or embrace extremist views can get their accounts suspended no question asked.
According to a report, suspensions linked to terrorism have surged 80 percent in just one year on Twitter. Most suspensions happened in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, the company noted.
Additionally, the San Francisco-based firm announced that it has hired more people to deal with violation reports, so account suspensions should occur faster. Suspended users will have a harder time to make a comeback to the platform too.
Twitter also expanded its base of partners that help it counter violent extremism.
Internet activist and entrepreneur Anil Dash noted that banning those accounts was a good thing to do but not a surprise.
“Twitter has been doing those things for a long time,”
He added that the recent move was not a change in its policy but proof that Twitter can discuss stingy issues such as terrorism more openly than it has used to.