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March 22, 2017

Twitter Bans 376,000 Pro-Terrorist Accounts in Six Months

Twitter is cracking down on the use of its platform for pro-terrorist propaganda.

The microblogging site, in the latter half of 2016, suspended more than 376,000 terrorism-linked accounts, up from the 235,000 accounts it banned in the first six months of 2016 and three times more than it banned in 2015, according to the company’s newly updated Transparency Report.

The latest edition of the report, which spans July through December of 2016, includes some new content: a category under its legal removals section listing requests to remove content from verified journalists and other media/news outlets and a section in the U.S. report covering national security requests.

“As recently noted, we were able to reveal the existence of two national security letters after the FBI informed us that the gag orders had been lifted,” Twitter director of global legal policy Jeremy Kessel said in a blog post. “We also spoke about Twitter’s attempt to use the statutory means provided in the USA Freedom Act to seek more transparency into similar NSL requests. Shortly after that post, we received word that the DOJ and FBI responded to our USA Freedom Act notices regarding three additional NSLs lifting the accompanying gag orders.”

Twitter said it provided notice, including a copy of the data it gave to government, to the affected users.

The company saw a rise in the number of requests to remove content from verified members of the media, receiving 88 legal requests from around the world.

“We did not take any action on the majority of these requests, with limited exceptions in Germany and Turkey, the latter of which accounted for 88% of all requests of this nature,” Kessel said. “For example, we were compelled to withhold Tweets sharing graphic imagery following terror attacks in Turkey in response to a court order. More details about these requests are available in our report.”

Surprisingly, information request growth is down substantially compared to years past.

Although the U.S. government submitted the highest number of account information requests —2,304 requests concerning 5,618 accounts — overall request numbers decreased nine percent. France, also a frequent submitter, had 12 percent fewer requests compared to the previous report.

The United States accounted for 38 percent of total requests for account information received followed by Japan in second place with 16 percent of total information requests. The United Kingdom, France and Turkey rounded out the top five requester countries.

To review the report in its entirety, click here.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.