Twitter bans accounts of Abu Qatada and other al-Qaeda leaders

Twitter has suspended the account of three al-Qaeda leaders, The three accounts, which between them had tens of thousands of followers and were used several times a day, were at the heart of an online network of al-Qaida supporters

The accounts focused mostly on the war in Syria, frequently attacking Islamic State, but also commented on other issues, from law to religious judgments.

al-Qaeda leaders

“Attacking the west is not a priority in their messaging,” Bunzel told the Guardian. He added that Abu Qatada and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisis’s commentary had mostly been limited to the war in Syria.

“Twitter has been a permissive forum for supporters of al-Qaida as compared to supporters of the Islamic State who have been pushed off,” Bunzel said. “The focus of these crackdowns has been on the Islamic State.”

It was not clear what had prompted the shutdown, or whether the move would cause al-Qaida supporters to embrace other social networks. So far only major figures appear to have been targeted by Twitter, not their supporters, he said. “The people who were retweeting and interacting with these ‘big three’ online: they are still online, still communicating.”

Twitter said it could not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons, but a spokesperson said: “We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter rules make it clear that this type of behaviour, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service. Since the middle of 2015 alone, we’ve suspended more than 360,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to Isis.”

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