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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06 2016, @01:06PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the get-a-bigger-hammer dept.

Twitter has been engaged in a game of whack-a-mole with accounts linked to "terrorism" since 2015, and has announced that it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts as part of its efforts to "combat" extremism:

In its ongoing effort to combat violent extremism, Twitter announced Friday that it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 because of what it called their connections to terrorist or extremist groups, primarily ISIS.

NPR's Aarti Shahani reports that the company says there is no "magic algorithm" to identify terrorist content on the Internet, so they're forced to make make challenging judgment calls based on "very limited information and guidance." "The company says it's trying to strike the right balance between enforcement against tweets that break the rules, the needs of law enforcement, and free expression," Aarti reports.

In a statement, Twitter also said it has "increased the size of the teams that review reports," enabling it to respond more quickly to terrorism-related posts. "We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter," the company said.

The statement comes just weeks after a woman sued Twitter, accusing the platform of giving voice to ISIS. Tamara Fields, a Florida woman whose husband Lloyd died in a November attack on a police training center in Amman, Jordan, said Twitter "knowingly let the militant Islamist group use its network to spread propaganda, raise money and attract recruits," according to the complaint. The suit also alleged that "ISIS members use Twitter to post instructional guidelines and promotional videos, referred to as 'mujatweets.'"

Related: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Asks for "Spell-Checker" for Hate and Harassment


Original Submission

Related Stories

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Asks for "Spell-Checker" for Hate and Harassment 64 comments

Google's chairman Eric Schmidt has written an op-ed to The New York Times calling for tools to disrupt speech on social media:

Technology companies should work on tools to disrupt terrorism - such as creating a hate speech "spell-checker" - Google's chairman Eric Schmidt has said. Writing in The New York Times, Mr Schmidt said using technology to automatically filter-out extremist material would "de-escalate tensions on social media" and "remove videos before they spread".

His essay comes as presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton again called on Silicon Valley to help tackle terrorism, specifically seeking tools to combat the so-called Islamic State. "We need to put the great disrupters at work at disrupting ISIS," she said during a speech in Washington DC.

From the NYT editorial:

In Myanmar, connectivity fans the flames of violence against the Rohingya, the minority Muslim population. In Russia, farms of online trolls systematically harass democratic voices and spread false information on the Internet and on social media. And in the Middle East, terrorists use social media to recruit new members. In particular, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has harnessed social media to appeal to disaffected young people, giving them a sense of belonging and direction that they are not getting anywhere else. The militants' propaganda videos are high on style and production value. They're slick and marketable. In short, they are deluding some people to believe that living a life fueled by hatred and violence is actually ... cool.

This is where our own relationship with the Internet, and with technology, must be examined more closely. The Internet is not just a series of tubes transmitting information from place to place, terminal to terminal, without regard for those typing on their keyboards or reading on their screens. The people who use any technology are the ones who need to define its role in society. Technology doesn't work on its own, after all. It's just a tool. We are the ones who harness its power.


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @01:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @01:37PM (#299798)

    Twitter has also played "whack-a-mole" with people who espouse views at odds with the mass "migration" of people from the Middle East into Europe.

    In fact, it was suggested that they were too busy playing whack-a-mole with the nationalists, and they feared "offending" a certain religious group, that they completely ignored ISIS to begin with.

    This seems too little, too late.

    No surprise that their value is in free-fall, and half of their senior staff have left in the past few months. Twitter, like Reddit, is a platform of censorship, and users are leaving it in droves.

    And of course, the remaining leadership just doesn't get it. "Oh, people are leaving our platform of censorship? We need to give users up to 10,000 character posts so they can get their point across better (so long as that view is in line with our SJWs)."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @02:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @02:07PM (#299804)
    • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Saturday February 06 2016, @09:35PM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 06 2016, @09:35PM (#299923) Journal

      Exactly!

      Is there really any reason to believe that Twitter is doing anything much against actual terrorists like those supporting the Islamic State/Daesh?

      Or is it just an excuse?

      Is there really any reason to believe the US and their "allies" like Saudi Arabia are truly harming the Islamic State/Daesh? If there is then why do they all suck so tremendously at it?

      Is there really any reason to believe Turkey is not aiding and abetting the Islamic State/Daesh? Then why do they attack Russia and the Kurds instead of islamists?

      Is there really any reason to believe NATO is acting against the Islamic State/Daesh? Then why is Turkey still a member?

      Is there really any reason to believe that any government that is part of Five Eyes, Six Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes are doing anything effective in order to stop mass surveillance? If there is then why is teh surveillance and manipulation increasing and being legitimized through "law"?

      Is there really any reason to believe that the EU & the US aren't using the ruins of Ukraine as a honey pot, a kill zone, and a distraction, or maybe a failed attempt at releasing an imaginary safety valve aimed to deplete a nearly non-existent enemy i.e. actual nazis? So why the fuck are they supporting them like the US Pentagon did when the amendment from the US congress outlawing support for the nazis was simply removed?

      Is there really any reason to believe that the government believes in accountability and transparency and informed public discourse or even public democratic control of the government? If there is (is there ever?) then what about Manning, Assange, Snowden, and anyone else like them or somewhat similar to them including Dotcom?

      It is the same politicians cozying up to each other and making decisions. If they claim ignorance then they also claim incompetence. In one instance they'll hide behind the UN and in another they'll boldly defy all responsibilities mandated by the UN and/or the UN charters.

      I see no reason not to think that it's malice. I see no reason to trust them.

      Twitter is just one example of government-private combined censorship & surveillance but the same goes for Facebook, and Eric Schmidt and Google is already mentioned in TFS, but its far more widespread than that. Recently the Guardian became one of the latest newspapers to shut down comments on anything to do with immigrants and islam, they were far from the first "newspaper" to do so or to move to surveilled systems and/or requiring identification, and/or harassing people who say something they do not like including to the point of getting them fired or taking away their children.

      Yet the same forces claim to offer debate. The "elite" politicians are still talking about dialogue and discussion even though it is (or should be, including to anyone on the extreme left) extremely obvious that they're lying: they've been criminalizing and punishing anyone with a different point of view for decades already. Not years, decades.

      Any government that does not protect the human rights of those they govern is illegitimate.
      Any government that does not represent the people they are governing is illegitimate.

      The governments can't even protect actual refugees from other immigrants. The police is unavailable and unresponsive and can only arrive afterwards anyway. If you protect yourself you will be prosecuted.

      I support revolution.

      It would have happened many years ago if people weren't so good at closing their eyes to the victims and it might not happen yet since so many still close their eyes but until it does (peacefully through elections or not) things will only continue to get worse.

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @02:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @02:50PM (#299813)

    It's fine to shut down ISIS, but during the Arab Spring they didn't censor anyone because free speech is paramount.

    But nah, it's fine if it's ISIS, gamergate or US whisteblowing reporters.

    https://cryptome.org/2015/10/AdventuresinCensorship.pdf [cryptome.org]

    Fuck twitter, it's about time there came an anonymous P2P version of Twitter.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @03:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @03:08PM (#299820)

      >Fuck twitter, it's about time there came an anonymous P2P version of Twitter.

      That would have been Usenet, which is probably why the ISPs killed it. Nowadays, Diaspora [joindiaspora.com] is a bit in that direction.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by seandiggity on Saturday February 06 2016, @03:08PM

      by seandiggity (639) on Saturday February 06 2016, @03:08PM (#299821) Homepage

      You might be interested in Twister: http://twister.net.co [twister.net.co]

      ...or GNU Social, or pump.io. The glue that holds these communities together may eventually be called ActivityPub: https://w3c-social.github.io/activitypub/ [github.io]

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by DeathMonkey on Saturday February 06 2016, @05:28PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Saturday February 06 2016, @05:28PM (#299859) Journal

      I challenge everyone to actually read the linked report and see for themselves whether is supports the AC's allegations of politically motivated censorship.
       
      Hint: it doesn't

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @03:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @03:10PM (#299822)

    Either you are a common carrier or are not.

    * If you are, then you don't censor anybody.
    * If you are not and censor some, you goddamn better censor them ALL illegal/immoral/objectionable/unfashionable/... content!

    Since the latter is impossible bar removing all posts the former seems like a reasonable stance. Any sensible person would steer clear of Twatter.

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by gnuman on Saturday February 06 2016, @04:42PM

      by gnuman (5013) on Saturday February 06 2016, @04:42PM (#299840)

      Why in the holy **** would Twitter be ever considered a Common Carrier?? They are a website, not an ISP!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier#Telecommunications [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @07:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @07:48PM (#299896)

        Common carrier may be the incorrect name, but the reason that Twitter should not editorialize their content is so that they keep the DMCA safe harbor provision. Once they begin editorializing / censoring certain viewpoints then they could lose the DMCA safe harbor protection which prevents Twitter from being held responsible for the content of their "website".

        They are a website, not an ISP!

        Hint: Websites don't have 140 char limits. What you're using is the front end of a telecommunications company's SMS message relay network. So, want to rethink that "it's not a common carrier" crap again? Common carrier applies to telecommunications service companies, not ISPs. In fact, FCC wanted to classify ISPs as title II so they do fall under common carrier laws, but have failed to do so because of blowback from lobbyists who influence the FCC's purse strings indirectly.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @04:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @04:59PM (#299850)

    So, like 200 people?

    The statement comes just weeks after a woman sued Twitter, accusing the platform of giving voice to ISIS.

    So where is the sacred 1st Amendment? Down the toilet? There is whole bunch of assholes in the world that are able to speak out of US because of 1st Amendment rights. And that lawsuit is completely retarded and Twitter should coutersue for costs. One might as well sue Microsoft for not blocking porn on "The Internet" (you know, IE)

    Twitter has their terms of service and that's THE ONLY reason why they should be censoring any accounts. Then again, they were happy with KKK having accounts there. So WTF?

    • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Saturday February 06 2016, @10:22PM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 06 2016, @10:22PM (#299945) Journal

      The US 1st amendment (and the rest of them including the 2nd —$deity¹ bless Americans for their love of guns) or alternatively (in the rest of the world) the UN human rights charter has been going down the toilet for years.

      However it got stuck :D (at least so far).

      What we are seeing are the continued efforts to get it to clear the bend, the powers-that-be are having some problems achieving that because people don't like it and are liking it less and less the more they try.

      In a fascist system there is no meaningful difference between private companies and state agencies: they all do the bidding of the same "masters". Yes I'm saying the previously named "western world" aka "free world" has become or is very close to becoming fully fascist.

      There are people both inside and outside the system that object in lots of different ways.

      So far it's looking more and more like the ultimate aim is a combined US-EU-muslim fascist superstate but who knows (power is likely all that matters) and anyway there are a hell of a lot of crinkles to iron out no matter what and you might be one of them just like I am.

      Anyone remember the League of Nations? »space to insert jokes about how old many here are :P« What was the attempt previous to that one called? The Treaty of Rome or some such thing?

      Off topic I just realized that "misanthrope" isn't only the new "racist" but also the new "black"! :D

      ¹ I think I'll try [wikipedia.org] today :)

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @10:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06 2016, @10:11PM (#299939)

    Less time spent on social media leaves more time to go out and terrorize, doesn't it. Good job, Twitter.