Twitter deletes 125K terrorist accounts

In an effort to crack down on terrorists who use the platform for support, social media company expands its specialist teams.

Shoshana Miskin ,


Twitter announced Friday that the company has deleted more than 125,000 accounts linked to terrorists. Since the middle of 2015, the company suspended the accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, most of them in the cause of Islamic State (ISIS).

The statement specified that in efforts to crack down on the online activity of terrorist groups and their supporters, Twitter has increased the teams that review accounts reported by users, and has started to look into accounts similar to those reported.

“We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter,” said the social media company. “We condemn the use of Twitter to promote violent terrorism. This type of behavior, or any violent threats, is not permitted on our service.”

Twitter updated its policies last month to explicitly prohibit promoting violence or terrorism, as well as harassment and hate speech.

Western politicians increasingly have applied pressure on US technology firms to become more active in combating Islamic extremism. A report from the Brookings Institution last year said at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters.

Twitter is free, international, and allows anyone to sign up for an account and post whatever they please, which is why the 300 million-person site is an attractive recruiting tool for terrorists. The company confirmed that most of the suspended accounts were ISIS-related.

Twitter pointed out that it is difficult to keep tabs on this type of content, especially when the company is trying to preserve some semblance of free speech. “Global online platforms are forced to make challenging judgment calls based on very limited information and guidance.”

As there is no “magic algorithm for identifying terrorist content on the internet,” the social media site relies on users to flag accounts that violate company rules, which are then reviewed by Twitter employees.