Almost 50,000 Twitter accounts linked to ISIL

Report says US gov’t and social media companies should work together against extremism
By Staff writer
Sat 07 Mar 2015 05:04 PM

New research has estimated that at least 46,000 Twitter accounts are linked to ISIL supporters.

The new findings revealed in a report published by the Brookings Institution show that despite Twitter’s action of suspending accounts linked to the militant group, the number of supporters using the messaging platform remained high in late 2014.

“From September through December 2014, the authors estimate that at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by IS supporters, although not all of them were active at the same time,” the report said.

The authors of the report, which was commissioned by Google Ideas, said research of ISIL’s use of Twitter needed to extend its scope in order to show true statistics.

“Previous analyses of ISIL’s Twitter reach have relied on limited segments of the overall ISIL social network. The small, cellular nature of that network - and the focus on particular subsets within the network such as foreign fighters - may create misleading conclusions.”

By using the location embedded in tweets, researchers were able to say the largest number of ISIL supporters were from the Gulf, followed by Syria, Iraq and the US. The most claimed location in a profile was Saudi Arabia, while one-fifth of the supporters tweeted in English.

The report recommends that “social media companies and the US government must work together to devise appropriate responses to extremism on social media”.

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