Twitter Terrorism, Social Media Sites Set to Be Investigated by EU

Twitter Terrorism, Social Media Sites Set to Be Investigated by EU © AFP 2015/ Leon Neal

16:51 01.07.2015Get short URL

Terrorists are increasingly turning to the Internet and social media to launch “well-organized, concerted social media campaigns to recruit followers and to promote or glorify acts of terrorism or violent extremism”, says Europol.

Following the suicide bombing in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, many people took to Twitter and created the hashtag, which, when translated, means: “Before You Blow Yourself Up.” The hashtag of condemnation called for fundamentalists to think of their families and their faith first.

Vocativ reported that the Twitter campaign went global. In less than 24 hours it generated more than 21,000 tweets worldwide. However Vocativ also discovered that the hashtag was being taken over and occupied by Islamic State sympathizers, as the group claimed responsibility for the attack in Kuwait. One in ten tweets were found to be coming from ISIL supporters.

And to combat the phenomenon of terrorist propaganda and violent extremist’s material on the Internet, Europe has set up a new European Union Internet Referral Unit, (EU IRU). Dmitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said:

“The recent terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait have shown once again how important it is to combat terrorist threats with determination.”

The dedicated unit is aimed at reducing the impact of terrorist and violent extremists propaganda online. Any online content causing concern will be referred to Internet service providers.

Twitter Accused of Turning A Blind Eye

Twitter has been singled out by the European branch of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) for “turning a blind eye” to extremists, using the media platform to recruit more terrorists.

Chief executive of the CEP and former US Ambassador Mark Wallace said Twitter is the “gateway drug” and stands out from other social media platforms as the company with the worst track record on removing extremists’ accounts before they migrate to WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Speaking recently in Brussels, Wallace said:

“Twitter is the most obvious and egregious actor in the social media space.”

A statement from Twitter said that the company reviews all reports suggesting violent threat and the promotion of terrorism, which are against its rules.

“Social media companies that don’t remove extremist material from their websites should face sanctions”, Wallace said.

Not for profit organization, CEP, says it will continue to “monitor accounts in English, German, French, Italian and Turkish and send the company requests to remove users it says are promoting extremism.”

However, it’s feared that the more governments and companies work to combat online radicalization and extremist propaganda material — the greater the danger of pushing terrorists on Twitter onto other media platforms, which lead deeper into cyberspace.

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