Twitter, which has assured all national security types that they’re hard at work trying to pull down the accounts of ISIS loyalists, doesn’t seem to have the same attitude with Hamas.
Yesterday I followed the Al-Qassam Brigades’ Twitter account, as Hamas’ military wing occasionally tweets out some strategy and intifada calls along with their anti-Israel propaganda.
This morning, an email from Twitter suggested that I broaden my Hamas following, just in time for the latest spate of horrific random stabbings of Jews in Jerusalem.
Twitter’s suggestion of terrorists is not a one-off.
In September 2013, we reported on a Twitter suggestions email in response to following a new account that had been created by al-Qaeda.
Those included links to the Al-Battar training camp, al-Qaeda’s program that has offered DIY as well as hands-on terrorist advice, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Abdulaziz Sayer Owain al Shammari, an Al-Shabaab “foot soldier,” and a Kurdistan-based affiliate of al-Qaeda.
Last month, I followed Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid and Twitter latched onto this to send me some more Taliban suggestions.
The first suggestion in an older account of Zabiullah Mujahid. Abdulqahar Balkhi is another Taliban spokesman specializing in broadcasting their statements in English. The third is another Taliban “authorized correspondent.”
FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee in July that social media is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to fighting terrorist recruitment and information sharing.
“ISIL is reaching out, primarily through Twitter, to about 21,000 English-language followers,” Comey said. “It buzzes in their pocket … a device, almost a devil on their shoulder, all day long saying, ‘Kill, kill, kill, kill.’”
While ISIS accounts frequently are removed by Twitter, though, accounts belonging to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups tend to stay up much longer. Or, in the case of Hamas and the Taliban, get promoted.