PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Twitter has revealed it’s shut down hundreds of thousands of accounts spouting violent extremist views, and this is the first time the social network has talked about the effort in a transparency report.
In the last six months of 20-16, Twitter suspended more than 370 thousand accounts for promoting terrorism. The move is part of the social network’s effort to crack down on groups like ISIS and their supporters.
Drexel University Cyber security expert Dr. Rob D’Ovidio said, “Certainly there’s a concern when it comes to like minded people or people interested in those groups getting more indoctrinated by the propaganda that’s published thought this organization Twitter stream so its a really good recruiting tool.”
Just 2% of the accounts suspended came as the result of government requests to remove data. Twitter notes it found three-quarters of extremist accounts using their own spam-fighting tools. But D’Ovidio says there’s still more that can be done.
“I think that it’s important that they have systems in place that allow the end user to report relatively easily. This allows us, as users of a service like Twitter, to fulfill that surveillance function and are able to allow them in the instance that their filters aren’t catching things,” said D’Ovidio. “We become, essentially, a part of the solution.”
In total – Twitter says it has suspended more than 600 thousand accounts between August of 2015 and December of 2016.