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Micro-blogging Site Twitter Removes 1.6 Lakh Terror-promoting Accounts

Approximately 75 per cent were subsequently automatically removed after failing Twitter's account challenge process

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Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter suspended 166,513 accounts for promoting terrorism in the July-December 2018 period, saying there’s a steady decrease in terrorist groups trying to use the platform owing to its “zero-tolerance policy enforcement”.

According to Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Lead at Twitter, there is a reduction of 19 per cent terror-related tweets from the previous reporting period (January-June 2018).

“Of those suspensions, 91 per cent consisted of accounts flagged by internal, purpose-built technological tools,” she said in a blog post late Thursday.

Twitter said that in the majority of cases, it took action at the account setup stage — before the account even Tweets.

“We have received government information requests from 86 countries. The US now comprises only 30 per cent of global government information requests and 35 per cent of all global accounts specified in the same category,” informed Gadde.

The second highest volume of information requests were submitted by Japan (24 per cent of global information requests).

Requests from the UK (13 per cent), India (6 per cent), Germany (6 per cent) and France (5 per cent) together account for 30 percent of all global information requests, and 29 per cent of all global accounts specified.

“We received roughly 8 per cent fewer global legal requests to remove content, impacting approximately 2 per cent fewer accounts, compared to the previous reporting period,” said Gadde.

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The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

Twitter received legal requests specifying 27,283 accounts from 48 countries, including Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia and Slovenia for the first time.

“Nearly 74 per cent of the total global volume of legal requests to remove content originated from only two countries: Russia and Turkey,” said the company.

During the reporting period, Twitter suspended a total of 456,989 unique accounts for violations related to child sexual exploitation, which is down 6 per cent from the previous reporting period.

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Of those unique accounts suspended, 96 per cent were surfaced by a combination of technology solutions, including PhotoDNA and internal proprietary tools.

“Proactive challenges of accounts for spammy behaviour and platform manipulation have decreased by 17 per cent in the second half of 2018 versus the first half — totalling 194 million challenges in the second half of 2018,” said Gadde.

Approximately 75 per cent were subsequently automatically removed after failing Twitter’s account challenge process. (IANS)

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter Aims to Restrict Users, Not World Leaders Like Trump

"These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm," it added

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

Stating that world leaders are not above its policies “entirely,” Twitter has decided to restrict how users can interact with harmful tweets from world leaders who break its rules, but did not clarify whether it will remove or block the world leader like US President Donald Trump from doing so.

The micro-blogging platform said it will not allow users to like, reply, share or retweet offending posts from world leaders.

“You will not be able to like, reply, share, or Retweet the Tweet in question. You will still be able to express your opinion with Retweet with Comment,” the company said on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account,” it added.

Twitter has been facing pressure to take action against US President Donald Trump for posting controversial tweets, but the micro-blogging platform has been evading action.

Earlier this month, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, asked Twitter to suspend Trump’s account for attacking lawmakers and the whistleblower behind a complaint on his shady dealings with Ukraine.

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A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

“Trump’s Twitter account should be suspended. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm as the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” Harris told CNN.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to attack his political opponents.

In a series of tweets, he said that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason for exaggerating parts of phone call Trump had with Zelensky.

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If a tweet from a world leader does violate its rules, but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, the company said on Tuesday that it “may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content”.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognise that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarised political culture,” said Twitter.

“These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm,” it added. (IANS)