Twitter Bans 376,890 Terrorism-Promoting Accounts
Twitter's attempt to crack down on users who promote terrorism and extremist views resulted in the suspension of 376,890 accounts in the second half of 2016, according to the company's latest transparency report.
That brings the total number of extremist accounts suspended to 636,248 since Twitter began tracking such suspensions in August 2015. Seventy-five percent of accounts suspended for promoting terrorism in the second half of 2016 were found by Twitter's own spam fighting tools, the company said. Others were suspended following outside requests, including those from government representatives.
After coming after fire from advocacy groups for not doing enough to stamp out hate speech and extremist views, Twitter stepped up its purging efforts last year. In addition to removing tweets and accounts that violate the company's prohibition on promoting terrorism, Twitter has also suspended the accounts of several prominent individuals associated with the "alt-right" movement.
In addition to suspending accounts, Twitter, like other social media companies, also receives legal requests from law enforcement agencies to remove content. Although it complies with many such requests, Twitter said it rejected most of the 88 legal requests in the second half of last year to remove content posted by verified journalists or news outlet accounts.
"Given the concerning global trend of various governments cracking down on press freedom, we want to shine a brighter light on these requests," the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
The latest data on Twitter suspensions comes less than one week after several advertisers in the U.K. pulled their content from YouTube because it was showing up next to videos promoting extremism and hate speech. YouTube owner Google admitted that it can do better to ensure that its advertisers' content doesn't appear alongside videos with extremist and other objectionable content, something it acted on today.