Twitter announced on Tuesday (20th) that it has deleted 377,000 accounts in the second half of 2016 as part of its fight against content related to extremism and terrorism. The number is 60% higher than the profiles deleted in the first half of last year, according to its transparency report.
In total, the social network giant removed 636,248 accounts for the same reason in the period from August 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016.
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The social media networks are being urged by governments and law enforcement authorities to use their platforms to tackle individuals promoting extremism and religious violence.
The report further reveals that from the prior six-month period there has been a 7 percent increase in government requests for user data since the company received 88 requests from governments all over the world with suspension requests, including accounts of journalists and “recognized” media organization. However, no further action was taken in most cases, with some exceptions for Germany and Turkey, where 88% of these requests came from.
Removal requests – July to December 2016 https://t.co/SqoQutzxvT
— Waqas (@Writerblues) March 22, 2017
“Given the concerning global trend of various governments cracking down on press freedom, we want to shine a brighter light on these requests,” it writes. “During this reporting period, Twitter received 88 legal requests from around the world directing us to remove content posted by verified journalists or news outlet accounts.”
“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. For example, we were compelled to withhold Tweets sharing graphic imagery following terror attacks in Turkey in response to a court order.”
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Lately, the social media companies are taking actions against pro-terrorism content. Facebook and Google are using automated tools to identify and remove extremist videos. Facebook is also encouraging “counter-speech,” or creating and distributing content that contradicts hate speech messaging.
This is a great achievement for Twitter since the company was being accused of not doing enough to take down terrorism-related content.