A battle over space

Twitter shows the importance of denying terror groups a place to spread their agenda

Terrorists love Twitter because it provides a space to speak freely, without the fear of censorship. Scott Eells / Bloomberg News
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Social media networks provide a powerful tool for terror groups such as ISIL to spread their messages and draw young people into their ideological orbit. Twitter is a particular favourite because it provides a forum for them to rapidly spread their poisonous message.

This is why the social media organisation’s clampdown on extremist-related accounts is so significant. Twitter announced earlier this month that it had shut down more than 125,000 accounts – most of them linked to ISIL – since the middle of last year. The move has limited the group’s growth and in some cases devastated the viral reach of specific users, according to a report from George Washington University’s programme on extremism.

Although some people have said Twitter’s efforts are inadequate and ineffective, there is little doubt that to defeat extremists, we must deny them the space they seek so desperately, whether it is on the physical or virtual battlefield.