Twitter said Thursday it has suspended
over one million accounts for "promotion of
terrorism" since 2015, claiming its efforts
have begun to make the platform "an
undesirable place" to call for violence.
In its latest transparency report, Twitter
said it suspended 274,460 accounts between
July and December 2017 "for violations
related to the promotion of terrorism."
The figure is down 8.4 percent from the
previous reporting period and is the second
consecutive decline, a Twitter statement
"We continue to see the positive,
significant impact of years of hard work
making our site an undesirable place for
those seeking to promote terrorism,
resulting in this type of activity
increasingly shifting away from Twitter,"
said the statement from the messaging
platform's public policy team.
Twitter has faced pressure from governments
around the world to crack down on jihadists
and others calling for violent attacks,
while at the same time maintaining an open
platform for free speech.
In the latest six-month reporting period,
Twitter said 93 percent of the suspended
accounts were "flagged by internal,
proprietary tools," and that 74 percent were
cut off before their first tweet.
It said government reports of violations
related to the promotion of terrorism
represent less than 0.2 percent of all
suspensions in the period.
Twitter also used the report to express
concerns about what it called "legal threats
to freedom of expression" online in
countries around the world.
"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," the report said.
It cited a Human Rights Watch report
suggesting that "governments around the
world (are) increasingly look to restrict
online speech by forcing social media
companies to act as their censors."