Twitter has officially confirmed the closure of 235,000 accounts in the past six months for violating its policy on terrorism. Back in February, the company said it had shut down more than 1,25,000 accounts since mid-2015 for the same, which brings the total number to 3,60,000 accounts that have been shot down for terrorism-related activities. The move comes as the company looks to respond to its critics, who believe that Twitter is a breeding ground for extremist groups around the world. Notably, Twitter said that since the first announcement made last year, there’s been an increasing number of terrorist attacks across the globe.
“Our response time for suspending reported accounts, the amount of time these accounts are on Twitter, and the number of followers they accumulate have all decreased dramatically,” Twitter said in a blog post. “We have also made progress in disrupting the ability of those suspended to immediately return to the platform.”
In the blog post titled ‘An update on our efforts to combat violent extremism‘ published on Thursday, Twitter said it is employing anti-spam tools to identify abusers linked to such accounts. Furthermore, the company said such automated tools have helped them detect more than one-third of the accounts shut down for promoting terrorist activities. The company also announced that starting 2017, it will publish regular updates on its fight to curb terrorism in its Transparency Report.
“Daily suspensions are up over 80 percent since last year, with spikes in suspensions immediately following terrorist attacks. Our response time for suspending reported accounts, the amount of time these accounts are on Twitter, and the number of followers they accumulate have all decreased dramatically”, added Twitter.
Twitter’s public policy team has also joined hands with other groups to curb terrorism on its platform, which include U.K’s Imams Online, True Islam in the United States, Wahid Foundation in Indonesia, United Arab Emirates’ Sawab Center and France’s Parle-moi d’Islam.
According to Twitter, it is also working with law enforcement agencies and other social media platforms to track down content that incites terrorism.
Besides, Twitter on Thursday also introduced a new feature that gives users’ the option to avoid seeing comments from strangers. Letting users’ limit notifications to only their followers, hiding comments directed at them from all over Twitter. Twitter already gives users’ the option to block unwanted followers.
It also provides a “mute” feature that lets you remove any user’s or account’s tweet from your timeline, without having to unfollow or blocking that particular account or user. Moreover, users can also set their accounts as “protected”, which means only users they approve of can view their tweets.