ISIS Twitter Census calls for response to social media extremism

A study of ISIS-supporting Twitter activity from the Brookings Institution recommends Twitter and the U.S. government work together to respond to online extremism. The ISIS Twitter Census found at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters from September through December 2014, including 404 accounts based in United States

ISIS-supporting accounts had an average of about 1,000 followers each, which is considerably higher than the average Twitter user. ISIS-supporting accounts were also significantly more active than average public accounts.

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At least 1,000 ISIS-supporting accounts were suspended by Twitter between September and December 2014. Twitter's policy prohibits "direct, specific threats of violence," but Twitter employees do not proactively monitor the content of tweets.

The Brookings study identified a group of 500 to 2,000 "hyperactive" Twitter accounts that made ISIS appear to have a larger presence than it actually does. The study authors found ISIS to be an "insignificant speck" when compared to Twitter's 280 million active users.

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