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That escalated quickly. Last night ISIS supporters rallied behind an anonymous post online calling for jihadists to attack Twitter over removing the Islamic State’s messages on the social network.
The post is addressed to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey saying any attempts at protecting Twitter employees is “helpless”. Dorsey’s face appears at the top of the post photoshopped into the cross sights of a gun.
According to Twitter’s terms of service any tweet that contain “specific threats of violence against others” will be removed. But aside from using these guidelines as the sole reason for suspending ISIS accounts, Twitter’s decision to remove the recent videos of hostage executions has sparked a debate in journalism circles. Some would argue that Twitter is making editorial decisions by taking down the videos and ignoring its mission to champion free speech. Writing in The Guardian James Ball notes:
It is hard to think of anyone having a good reason to view or share such barbaric footage, but Twitter’s proactive approach reverses a long record of non-intervention.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube ARE platforms that exercise editorial judgment: through algorithms, through ToUs, and now through judgment.
— emily bell (@emilybell) August 20, 2014
In a statement to CNBC, Twitter said its “security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials.” As for Dorsey, his last tweet this morning was a retweet from Kanye West saying: “So Help Me God.”