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Twitter bans 270,000 terrorist accounts

Twitter has announced that it banned 274,460 accounts for promoting terrorism over the last six months of 2017.
The number of bans reported in the twice yearly transparency report marks a 8.4% decrease on the six months previous as part of what Twitter celebrated as "the positive, significant impact of years of hard work".As with its report last year, the majority of these accounts (93%) were automatically removed by the social media company's internal tools, and 74% were suspended before their first tweet."Government reports of violations related to the promotion of terrorism represent less than 0.2% of all suspensions in the most recent reporting period," Twitter claimed - reflecting a 50% reduction in reports compared to the previous six months.:: Are tech firms doing enough on terror?
Twitter bans 270,000 terrorist accounts

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The bans follow immense pressure by governments across the world in response to terrorist attacks, with social media companies being accused of not working hard enough to prevent the spread of online extremism.Last year, Home Secretary Amber Rudd floated the idea that people who repeatedly viewed terrorist content online could be jailed for up to 15 years.In the face of this pressure, technology and social media companies have begun investing huge amounts of money to combat extremism.Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have announced funding for various projects as they seek to deflect regulatory interest.In the UK, the Government is introducing its 'Internet Safety Strategy' which could see social media companies pay an additional tax to pay for measures to address cyber bulling and extremism.
Twitter bans 270,000 terrorist accounts

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In 2015, the then director of the FBI, James Comey, claimed Islamic State was using social media to "crowdsource terrorism" and said Twitter was used "to sell murder".
In Germany, a law which came into effect in 2018 is forcing social media companies to remove hate speech or receive serious regulatory action.In response, Human Rights Watch warned that the law could "lead to unaccountable, overbroad censorship" and advocated for it to be reversed.Politicians in the UK are considering whether a similar law should be implemented in Britain, although civil rights groups have warned against it.Twitter noted these concerns, stating: "With the passage of new legislation and ongoing regulatory discussions taking place around the world about the future of public discourse online, we are seeing a potential chilling effect with regards to freedom of expression.
Twitter bans 270,000 terrorist accounts

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"According to Human Rights Watch, the wave of regulatory pressure in Europe and beyond is setting an emerging precedent and creating a 'domino effect' as 'governments around the world increasingly look to restrict online speech by forcing social media companies to act as their censors'."As regulators explore further potential restrictions, transparency is one of the most important ways we can continue to protect freedom of expression."The social media company said it was proud of its "industry-leading policies regarding transparency about content restrictions" which included "uploading actioned requests to withhold content to Lumen" in order to prevent censorship taking place.
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Lumen is "an independent database that collects and analyses removal requests for content online" and Twitter said it uploads most of its withheld content requests there unless it receives a court order prohibiting it from doing so.In practice this means investigations into terrorist content and serious crime will not be publicised - but other forms of legal demands will be publicly recorded.
news.sky.com
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