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Twitter shuts 235,000 more ‘extremist’ accounts

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Twitter announced Thursday that it had cut off 235,000 accounts during the past six months in a heightened crackdown on use of the global messaging service to promote violent extremist causes.

The suspensions raised to 360,000 the total number of accounts sidelined since the middle of 2015 and was helping “drive meaningful results” in curbing the activity, according to the San Francisco-based company. Twitter has been striving to balance protecting free speech at the one-to-many messaging service with not providing a stage for extremist groups to spread violent messages and enlist people to their causes.

In February, Twitter said that it had neutralized 125,000 accounts for violating rules against violent threats and promotion of terrorism. “Since that announcement, the world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe,” Twitter said in a blog post. “We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform.”

Daily suspensions of accounts are up more than 80 percent since last year, and spike in the immediate aftermath of terror attacks, according to Twitter. Twitter said that it is getting quicker at identifying extremist content and shutting down accounts involved, resulting in dramatic decreases in the number of followers attracted while posts are active. (AFP)