Terror on Twitter: Jihad in 140 characters or less, report warns

Twitter is the social network on which it is easiest to promote hate and terror, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

In a presentation Tuesday on Capitol Hill about its annual report, the center, which tracks hate groups and their communications, issued a report card gauging how well various social media and networking sites police hate and terror groups using their services.

Twitter is communicating a minimum of nearly 20,000 hate-spewing hash tags and handles this year,” said the center in a statement, up 30 percent from last year.

The center awards Twitter an “F” grade, saying, “You can post anything you want without being screened or removed” from the microblogging site.

Terror groups such as al-Shabab, the Somali Islamic extremist militia linked to al Qaeda, and the Taliban have their own Twitter feeds, the center says.

By contrast, Facebook gets an “A-minus” as a result of its “extensive partnership” with the center and its “tremendous steps to identify and eliminate digital prejudice and hate on their site.”

Facebook executives say that the promotion of violence is a breach of the site’s terms of service, and they devote significant resources to actively patrolling the site to stop misuse by supporters of terror and hate groups.

YouTube, the video-blogging site owned by Google Inc., got a “C-minus.” Although the site has community guidelines that prohibit the promotion of dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech and incitement to commit violent acts, YouTube “still needs much improvement,” the center says.

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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