Erdan challenges Twitter: 'Shut down accounts of terror groups'

Public Security Minister calls on Twitter to close accounts of terror groups, threatening 'legal and criminal' action for failure to do so.

Tal Polon,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Flash 90

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has written a letter to top Twitter officials, calling on them to shut down the Twitter accounts of designated terrorist organizations.

In the letter, addressed Monday to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani, Erdan writes, “As I believe you are aware, terrorist organizations have been expanding their use of social networks to radicalize, recruit, incite and spread propaganda. As Israel's Minister of Public Security, I have seen directly the

way that incitement spread through social media has inspired murderous ‘lone-wolf’ terrorist attacks.”

“I am therefore turning to you in order to demand that you immediately shut down the Twitter accounts of designated terrorist organizations responsible for the murder of thousands, namely accounts belonging to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and their leaders.

“Enabling terrorist organizations to operate freely and spread their messages via your platform may be a violation of existing Israeli law regarding providing support to terrorist organizations. In addition, Israel, like numerous other countries, is currently advancing legislation that will place penalties on internet companies that do not comply with requests from law-enforcement and judicial bodies to remove terrorist content.

“I have been informed by the relevant bodies in the Israel National Police and the Ministry of Justice that Twitter, unlike other social media companies, has largely been irresponsive to requests by the Israeli authorities to remove terrorist content and shut down terrorist accounts. As a result, terrorist organizations have been increasing their use of Twitter as a preferred means of spreading their propaganda, as they are able to operate openly with little to no interference. As just one example, Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, has operated an official English-language Twitter account since March 2015.

“I am certain that you do not wish to be responsible for supporting and enabling terrorist organizations who are actively engaged in inciting and executing attacks against innocent civilians. I therefore demand that you immediately shut down accounts affiliated with terrorist organizations, their leaders, and spokespeople, remove such content from your network, and prevent these organizations from opening accounts under any other name in the future,” Erdan writes, adding that “Failure to do so may necessitate the initiation of legal and criminal proceedings against Twitter under legislation currently in the advanced stages of the legislative process, which will hold internet companies responsible for terrorist content on their platforms, as well as under existent Israeli anti-terror laws.”

Erdan concludes by attaching a “partial list” showing about twenty links to Twitter accounts, each affiliated with either Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Hezbollah.








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