The ISIS Policy, as Laid out by Twitter
The global social network, twitter, claims to have successfully shut down over 125,000 accounts since the middle of last year only. These are accounts that are specifically linked with the promotion of terrorist acts, mainly those that have a link to ISIS.
In 2014, J. M. Berger of The Atlantic wrote a piece suggesting that ISIS online presence went beyond the simple lines of a strong following. He actually stated that the group used its online presence as a means to both control and inflates their message. The Bookings Institute further reinforced this by the statistical claim that of the accounts on twitter, more than 46,000 of them are owned and used by the same group.
Twitter sent out a blog in defence for itself clearly stating that they had increased the manpower used in filtering accounts. In the post, they say that this has reduced their response time and has also enabled them to look into similar accounts to those reported. They have also employed some tools to filter spam and the results are visible, with a reduction of the ISIS activity on the social network and a suspension of even more accounts. This is all being done in the backdrop of an administration pressured to mitigate the online presence of terrorist and extremist groups.
Twitter stated that the efforts go further than simple account suspension. They actually work closely with the relevant authorities when the necessity arises. Some effort is also put in collaborating with groups that seek to reduce the effect of extremist content online. The work, however, becomes somewhat difficult as speech regulation isn’t an easy venture on a platform that greatly champions for free speech and expression. Without a clear means of determining whether content found offensive by another party is of terrorist nature or not, the hard call becomes theirs. This is made more difficult with the lack of actual computer filtering algorithms that can rule on content. The choices that the social media platform makes, like many other companies, are actually based on the limited information that they have, and the guidance that they deem as right.