While the democratic nature of social media may be up for debate, there is clearly a great deal of power available to those who seek it. Case in point: Terrorists have taken to social sites to spread their message, and after a series of bans, ISIS targeted Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey.
A post addressed to Dorsey from ISIS reads:
Your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you. You started this failed war. We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back.
Twitter and other social networks have come under pressure lately for allowing extremist messages on their services. French officials have even threatened legislation that would hold social networks accountable if they don’t remove hate speech and other similar messages.
ISIS has been active on Twitter in recent months, and in January the group posted a video urging supporters around the world to carry out attacks wherever they are located.
Twitter has answered proactively, removing threatening and extremist content, especially that posted by ISIS accounts. The terms of service is already set up to punish threats of violence, harassment, unlawful use of the site, and obscene imagery, so it’s relatively easy to ban ISIS accounts. Late last year, Twitter managed to remove 45,000 ISIS related accounts.
Twitter is taking the threats seriously and a spokesperson told Buzzfeed:
Our security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials.
Iraq chose to ban several social sites last June, in an effort to stifle the messages coming from ISIS, but these threats are a clear example that it will be difficult to silence them completely.