Twitter cracks down on Isil accounts

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Dubai: Twitter has taken measures to close down dozens of accounts affiliated to the group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) Twitter, alongside other forms of social media have been a vital cog in the mechanics of Isil’s PR machine.

Members of the extremist group have regularly tweeted photos, videos and call for other recruits to take up arms and join their fight.

Gulf News was able to identify at least 12 known Isil accounts which have disappeared in the last week alone, though there are reports of many other having been closed down too. The accounts, which frequently tweet gratuitously violent images, have been one of the few insights into a group that has been fiercely hostile to regular media outlets.

Charles Lister, an analyst for the Brookings Institution, told The New York Daily News “These accounts were also invaluable sources of intelligence on the Islamic State — on its areas of activity, its military capabilities, its tactics and strategy, its recruitment needs etc” suggesting that whilst the accounts are a dangerous part of Isil propaganda methods, they also provide invaluable information to the intelligence community.

The social network was awash with requests of a media blackout on Isil material in order to prevent them from gaining the “exposure they so craved”, whilst former Google policy chief, Andrew McLaughlin was reported as saying that the images were “obviously newsworthy” describing the images as “the sort of thing that moves history”.

It is Twitter policy to suspend accounts that do tweet violent and graphic images, though affiliation in itself does not warrant censureship.

Originall published by Gulf News here

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