Following recent criticism that they are not doing enough, Twitter announced Tuesday they are hitting out at ISIS with various harsher rules. Just previous to this announcement, Twitter users had fun, mocking a call to arms by ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, to hilarious effect.
The social media platform announced in a blog post Tuesday that they are taking more firm action against ISIS on Twitter. They have now clarified their definition of abusive behavior that will prompt Twitter to delete accounts in order to ban “hateful conduct” promoting violence against specific groups of people.
Megan Cristina, director of trust and safety for Twitter, said that “as always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs, but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse.”
While the new rules do not specifically mention the Islamic State or another group by name, it is clear the rules are mainly targeting ISIS.
“You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.”
According to the New York Post, previously, Twitter used a briefer and more generic warning that would ban users from threatening or promoting “violence against others.”
J.M. Berger is the co-author of the Brookings Institute “census” of ISIS Twitter use, dated March, 2015. That census found IS operated at least 46,000 accounts in the period from September to December, 2015. Berger said the new rules would lead to more aggressive reporting of abuse by Twitter users who flag accounts that they feel are breaking the rules.
“The new definition is much clearer and takes some of the guesswork out of determining if a tweet violates the rules.”
“My dad said I have to be home by 8pm. Will we be done by then?” Muslims tell ISIS they’d rather see Star Wars https://t.co/pl1tDDzcXA
— Zoltan H (@zedguy) December 28, 2015
On a more humorous note, ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi recently sent out a call to arms on Twitter in an attempt to recruit more followers. The call to arms was tweeted on December 26, 2015.
ISIS leaders: We urgently call upon every Muslim to join the fight, especially those in the land of the two shrines (Saudi Arabia), rise.
— Iyad El-Baghdadi (@iyad_elbaghdadi) December 26, 2015
Once this message hit the Twittersphere, Muslims showed their sense of humor in many ways. Some had to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens first.
@iyad_elbaghdadi Can’t mate, have to see the new Star Wars first
— Youssef Kobo (@Youssef_Kobo) December 29, 2015
Yet another Twitter user, while also mentioning Star Wars, was far more straight forward in their response.
But then how will I watch all the upcoming Star Wars movies? Also I don’t like hanging with murderous psychopaths https://t.co/QBNNcj5aEX
— Ali (@sak485) December 26, 2015
Others had more urgent tasks to do in the kitchen.
— Zareen@21CC (@21CCitizen) December 28, 2015
Another Twitter user is too concerned about knowing if Jon Snow really lives to get involved in the fight, but maybe later?
Sorry bruv, I have to wait until April and find out what happened to Jon Snow in Season 6. Maybe after that? https://t.co/JwjtnJNgxW
— Boorbuck (@rirezwan) December 28, 2015
One social media user was just too cute, preferring to “fangirl” the popular boy band One Direction.
Cant. Too busy fangirling one direction https://t.co/lzfSEkHOCi
— Shireen (@ShireenShaib) December 27, 2015
Another Twitter user was concerned about her curfew.
@iyad_elbaghdadi My dad said I have to be home by 8pm. Will we be done by then?
— Safiyya-Maryam Ahmed (@guidanceofgod) December 27, 2015
On a rather more serious note, another tweep told the ISIS leader what he is planning is not allowed, according to the Koran.
@iyad_elbaghdadi just read the Quran, it says no bro. Sorry mate.
— Mehmet Alp Çelebi (@MehmetCelebi) December 28, 2015
The APlus website lists many more examples of Twitter users hitting out with humor against the Islamic State.
Whether fighting ISIS with harsher rules, or simply with humor, Twitter certainly does appear to be doing its part.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News]