How Does Twitter Handle Terrorist Tweets?

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Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg Contributing Editor Richard Falkenrath discusses the efforts to reduce terrorists' social media impact. He speaks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

Bloomberg contributor and editor.

Terrorist groups are using twitter and how?

Quite a number of them are.

Al-shabaab has been on twitter a long time.

Its site was taken down during the west gate attack, but another popped up after that.

Hamas and hezbollah are on there, a number of foreign terrorist organizations, and they do this to promote their objectives.

Sometimes they will distribute gruesome pictures of their violent attacks and threaten a country.

Twitter's policy for dealing with these situations are quite reactive and conservative.

They essentially wait for local authorities to make a request to remove the site, and then if they deemed it to be correct, they will do so.

Quite a number of people are saying that is not enough now, especially when it seems to become -- while it is seeking to become a public company.

Twitter told us the accounts used in the attack were taken down because they violated twitter's rules.

Twitter, some would say, is in a difficult position because they don't know for sure if the people tweeting from these accounts are indeed the terrorist in question, and they don't know if they are using twitter to further or plan terrorist attacks.

How can twitter separate these possibilities?

It is very difficult and they're not going to be able to make all people happy all the time.

Since the dawn of the internet age, all the companies operating in this space have had to deal with local norms about objectionable content.

It is very difficult.

It is not just terrorism, it is also pornography, copyright violations, impersonation.

Twitter is much more reactive dealing with spam, as celebrity impersonation, and copyright violation that it is with terrorism and violence.

The point critics are saying is you need to have the same tools and proactive nature you provide these other problems to terrorism and threats of violence.

The company has not really done it yet.

Twitter has been one of the biggest crusaders of protecting user privacy, protecting free speech.

This is a company that is about to go public.

Which of their policies be, how should they react in situations like this?

You are putting your finger on the key issue.

It is very easy for a privately held company to do what it wants on these things.

Once you access the public capital markets in a regulated space, like the united states, the rules change a little bit and you're now accountable to shareholders and additional rounds of regulators who may expect more than in the past.

In the past, twitter has prioritized the expression of users of her government requirements.

What i think you will see as they go public is that will not work quite as well as when they were a startup.

How do other sites like facebook handle this?

Do they handle it any better, in your opinion?

I think they do.

They are more corrective and -- they are more proactive.

Google and facebook and google have all had these issues, so has yahoo!, and they are more quick about removing this content and twitter has been.

Twitter is a microblogging site that tries to give everybody the opportunity to express themselves.

The vast majority of the time that is terrific, but once in a while i terrorist group that is carrying out a threat or an attack and distributing these terrible pictures and images of what they are up to.

It is not acceptable for twitter to be passive and wait, in this case, for a formal request from the kenyan government to take down announcer bob account.

Out of curiosity, what do you make a jack dorsey, the cofounder of twitter, initiating contact with the president of iran?

It is clever for both of them.

Jack dorsey is now talking to the same person as president obama, and it is also clever for the president of iran who is trying to signal that change is coming and he is open to dialogue with the west for possible reconciliation.

Time will tell.

A tweet is cheap.

140 characters, you say what you want, but actions are a better jester.

Richard falk and wrath,

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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