Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Twitter offers new, though limited, evidence that it’s driving terrorists away

Published:Monday | February 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Twitter Inc. announced Friday that it had deleted 125,000 terrorist-related accounts in the last seven months.

The moves comes after months of criticism from President Barack Obama and others who complained that social media companies weren't doing enough to stifle extremist discussion online.

Still, Twitter was light on details about the deleted accounts and how the process works. It said only that more workers were reviewing accounts, leading to increased and faster deletions.

The San Francisco company didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The 125,000 figure doesn't mean that that many suspected terrorists may have tried to use Twitter, because an individual or group could have created new accounts after being banned previously. But the company suggested that it's dominating the whack-a-mole game, saying without citing specific evidence that terrorist talk is "shifting off of Twitter."

The Obama administration still would like Twitter to find a better way to deal with the constant creation of new accounts by the same people.

"They (Twitter) are still not doing enough," a U.S. official familiar with discussions with Twitter executives said in an interview. "They don't put a lot of resources into this. ... What does it matter if they take down an account and instead of '@ISILTerrorist001,' it is '@ISILTerrorist002' two minutes later?"