Twitter and its staff have had their lives threatened by members of terrist organisation Isis in response to the site's zero-tolerance approach towards accounts posting pro-extremist content.
According to the New York Post, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the audience during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit of the threats his staff had received as a result of them removing Isis accounts, many of which glorified images of graphic violence during the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
Costolo said: “After we started suspending their accounts, some folks affiliated with the organization used Twitter to declare that employees of Twitter and their management should be assassinated. Obviously that’s a jarring thing for anyone to deal with.
“Whenever you have a global public information-sharing channel, you are going to have people that use it for good. It’s obviously been a tool for social change, beneficial social change in a number of countries around the world.”
During the event Costolo said it was important for social media platforms to balance free speech with the need to protect citizen from extremist material which could indoctrinate western youths.
On the threats, Costolo concluded: “It’s against our terms of service. It’s against the law in many of the countries in which we operate for them to use it to promote their organisation. And when we do find those accounts, we shut them down. We shut them down quite actively.”
Prominent social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram stepped up their campaigns against Isis accounts following the execution of journalist James Foley, whose murder was widely shared online. As a result, subsequent executions have been denied a platform online.
However, the online crackdown of Isis members has witnessed the extremists take to more obscure, harder-to-regulate social media platforms such as open-sourced chatroom Disapora.