Technology

Twitter suspended more than 160,000 accounts over terrorism in second half of 2018

Twitter suspended more than 160,000 accounts in the second half of 2018 in its efforts to prevent terrorism content from spreading on its platform, the company announced Thursday. 

A total of 166,513 accounts were suspended for violating Twitter's policies regarding promotion of terrorism, reflecting a 19 percent drop from the 205,156 accounts suspended in first half of last year.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter credited its technical tools with catching much of the content, saying 91 percent of the suspended accounts were flagged by internal, purpose-built mechanisms.

"The trend we are observing year-on-year is a steady decrease in terrorist organizations attempting to use our service. This is due to zero-tolerance policy enforcement that has allowed us to take swift action on ban evaders and other identified forms of behavior used by terrorist entities and their affiliates. In the majority of cases, we take action at the account setup stage - before the account even Tweets," the platform said.

"We are encouraged by these metrics but will remain vigilant. Our goal is to stay one step ahead of emergent behaviors and new attempts to circumvent our robust approach."

Along with Facebook and Google, Twitter is under pressure from regulators to take a more heavy-handed approach to removing extremist content from its platform.

The companies also face pressure from lawmakers abroad to curb the spread of extremist content, with British Prime Minister Theresa May advocating in 2017 for increased internet regulation and online surveillance in the aftermath of a deadly London terror attack.

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