Like most technology, the internet and platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can be used for good or evil, or anything in between. When a violent terrorist organization like ISIS uses such programs, the terms of service provide that the accounts may be shut down. Since Twitter closed some accounts used by the Islamic State, the CEO and staff have received death threats from ISIS members.
CEO Dick Costolo recently spoke at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit and opened up to Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute about threats he has received. The Inquisitr reported in September that the members of accounts associated with ISIS have threatened the people behind Twitter. Isaacson asked point blank, “And you’ve actually been threatened by ISIS, you personally?”
To which Costolo replied, “Yeah, me personally. And then all of our employees.”
The Twitter personnel join the ranks of President Obama, the Pope, and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez as targets for death threats by the Islamic State. However, as The Inquisitr previously noted, it is more common for their threats to be levied at world leaders, not average American citizens. That perspective may have changed with the news of the Oklahoma beheading, as the murderer in that case appears to be closely associated with ISIS and radical Islam.
Some of the threats directed at the Twitter staff claimed that “lone wolf assassins” might show up on people’s doorstep in the furthering of their jihadist agenda.
The reason that many of the Twitter accounts have been closed down is because members of ISIS have been using Tweets to recruit and to plan and organize. Many of their online activities have been not only a violation of the platform’s terms of service, but also of laws in a number of countries, as well, according to Costolo. “ISIS has been using Twitter quite effectively,” according to Isaacson.
As soon as accounts “used for nefarious purposes” by ISIS were discovered, Costolo said they were shutting them down. But new accounts pop up in their place. It was through Twitter accounts that the death threats were made, calling for the assassination of Costolo and his employees.
“After regularly suspending their accounts, which we’ve been doing, some folks affiliated with the organization used Twitter to declare that the employees of Twitter and the management of Twitter should be assassinated. That’s a jarring thing for anyone to have to deal with. And I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the company about it.”
Even after the President Obama authorize airstrikes against ISIS, the terror organization shows little sign of slacking up. Recently, former President Jimmy Carter blasted Obama’s impotent strategy against the Islamic State, blaming shifting policies and “waiting too long,” reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Dick Costolo told the Summit audience that it is a delicate thing to balance the needs of free speech with the harm of parties spreading of violent and hateful content. As valuable as social media platforms like Twitter are to the free dissemination of important information, Costolo has made it clear that, despite the death threats, his company will not be party to the atrocities of the Islamic State.
[image via screenshot from Vanity Fair interview]