Twitter suspends 299,000 accounts linked to terrorism in past six months

The company said 75 percent of the infringing accounts were suspended before their first tweet.

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(Image: file photo)

Twitter suspended close of 300,000 accounts with links with terrorism in the first six months of the year, the company said.

In its latest transparency report published Tuesday, the social media company said that 95 percent of the suspended accounts were identified by internal, spam-fighting tools. One-quarter of those infringing accounts were suspended before the accounts posted their first tweet.

Twitter said that fewer than 2 percent of accounts that were suspended were reported by governments around the world.

Governments submitted 716 separate reports, which led to the suspension of 5,929 accounts.

The company said in a blog post that accounts blocked "actively incite or promote violence associated with internationally recognized terrorist organizations, promote internationally recognized terrorist organizations, and accounts attempting to evade prior enforcement."

In the past few months, technology giants have faced increased pressure from US and UK governments, and others, to work on curbing terrorist and extremist content online.

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube pledged to build a shared database of digital fingerprints of extremist material of content removed from their services in the hope of making it more difficult to share.

But governments are continuing to push for more after several terrorist attacks across the UK and Europe in the past two years. Both British prime minister Theresa May and French president Emmanuel Macron have suggested fining companies that fail to swiftly remove terrorist material from their services, which they say offers "safe spaces" for terrorists and criminals.

Twitter said it received 6,448 demands for data from governments in the first-half of the year, resulting in the handover of some data in 60 percent of cases.

The US made 211 demands during the first-half for 4,594 accounts, down by 8 percent year-over-year. The UK made 606 demands for data on 819 accounts, down by 11 percent year-over-year.

Twitter has 328 million users as of its second-quarter earnings in July.

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Zack Whittaker can be reached securely on Signal and WhatsApp at 646-755–8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

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