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‘Twitter terrorist’ woman jailed for three years, says was promoting interest of Sunnis in Iran

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terrorismA young woman has been jailed for three-and-half years for openly advocating violent jihad and instigating people on Twitter to indulge in “terrorist activities”.

Alaa Esayed, 22, posted more than 45,000 tweets in Arabic on an open account to her 8,240 followers between June 2013 and May 2014, The Guardian reported. Her Twitter account — with profile picture of a burqa-clad, kalashnikov- wielding woman — was even noticed by al-Qaida, which listed it as among the 66 most important jihadi accounts.

Esayed, from Kennington, south London, was sentenced at the Old Bailey on June 11 after pleading guilty to encouraging terrorism. “This material and its dissemination is an important factor in the encouragement of young men and women to travel abroad and engage in acts of terrorism,” Judge Charles Wide said.

“It is a matter of great and justified public concern. You were disseminating such material on a massive scale over a period of just short of a year. An indication of how busy you were in this activity is that on a site associated with al-Qaida your Twitter account was noted to be one of 66 important jihadi accounts.”

He told her she knew “perfectly well” what she had been doing, despite initially claiming she only wanted to learn about Muslim struggles in Iraq, Syria and Palestine and was merely cutting and pasting from other sources with her limited understanding of written Arabic.

Esayed said she was promoting the interests of the Sunni community in Iraq from Shia military forces. Because of her “blatant untruthfulness” the judge said, he had difficulty accepting anything she said through her lawyer. However, he did accept there was no evidence to suggest she was planning to engage in terrorism herself or had posted anything of a “practical nature”.

Esayed was brought up in Mosul, Iraq, and came to Britain with her family in 2007 after her father, who worked for the military, was forced to flee the country. Most of Esayed’s posts were cut and pasted from other sources and she insisted she did not support violent jihad.

In her statement to the police after her arrest Esayed said she had no intention of being a martyr and she could not even read or write Arabic well. Her lawyer, Tanveer Qureshi, said in mitigation: “Yes, she is a Twitter terrorist, but she is a Twitter terrorist who lacked creativity. She did not have a blog. She was blindly cutting and pasting.” He said her postings were just propaganda and there was no practical advice to any budding terrorists.

– (IANS)

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Microblogging Site Twitter Releases Tweets Linked to Russia, Iran

"We may also release incremental additions to existing datasets if we believe the additional information could materially impact research findings," Twitter said

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Twitter
Twitter releases data linked to Russian, Iranian info campaigns. Pixabay

With the goal of improving understanding of how foreign influence campings operate on Twitter, the microblogging site has now released massive datasets of accounts linked to potential influence campaigns originating in Russia and Iran.

These large datasets released this week comprise 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran.

Totalling over 360 gigabytes – including more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts ?the data store provides a picture of how state-sponsored agencies have used the Twitter platform, technology news website Ars Technica reported on Friday.

IRA allegedly ran information campaigns on several social media platforms to undermine the political process in the 2016 US presidential election.

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

With Twitter coming under scrutiny for its failure to stop the spread of misinformation during the election, the microblogging site, earlier this year, committed to the US Congress and the public to provide regular updates and information regarding its investigation into foreign interference in political conversations on Twitter.

Since that time, Twitter has shared examples of these types of content posted on Twitter by IRA and provided the public with a direct notice if they interacted with these accounts.

In August this year, Twitter also disclosed details of another attempted influence campaign it identified as potentially located within Iran.

The datasets released this week are aimed at enabling independent academic research and investigation into the nature of foreign influence campaigns, Twitter said.

Twitter
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We are committed to understanding how bad-faith actors use our services. We will continue to proactively combat nefarious attempts to undermine the integrity of Twitter, while partnering with civil society, government, our industry peers, and researchers to improve our collective understanding of coordinated attempts to interfere in the public conversation,” Twitter said.

A preliminary look at the data by Ars Technica revealed that a common tactic used by the IRA was to create “local news” accounts for major US cities, seeding them with posts linking to local news outlets.

The accounts, such as “Atlanta Online,” “Baltimore Online,” “Baton Rouge Voice,” “Chicago Daily News,” and “Dallas Top News” would also include tweet-length news headlines with no link, the report said.

Also Read- Habitability Of Surrounding Planets Affected By Super Flares Of Red Dwarfs: NASA

Twitter said if it identifies additional attempted information operations on Twitter in the future, it will release similar datasets in a timely fashion after completing its investigations.

“We may also release incremental additions to existing datasets if we believe the additional information could materially impact research findings,” Twitter said. (IANS)