Israeli minister demands Twitter shutter Hamas, Hezbollah accounts

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The groups are deemed to be terrorist groups by not only Israel, but also by the European Union and the US.

By Max Schindler

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan implored Tuesday that the CEO of social media giant Twitter cut off the mouthpieces for groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

The three organizations are deemed to be terrorist groups by not only Israel, but also by the European Union and the US.

“I am certain that you do not wish to be responsible for supporting and enabling terrorist organizations who are actively engaged in inciting and executing attacks against innocent civilians,” Erdan wrote in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

“Enabling terrorist organizations to operate freely and spread their messages via your platform may be a violation of existing Israeli law regarding providing support to terrorist organizations.”

Erdan noted that unlike other social media networks – like Facebook and Google – Twitter hasn’t been so willing to cooperate with Israeli government requests to remove questionable content.

Israel often requests that social media companies remove content which incite and promote violence and terrorism.

A spokesperson for Twitter was unavailable for immediate comment.

“As a result, terrorist organizations have been increasing their use of Twitter as a preferred means of spreading their propaganda, as they are able to operate openly with little to no interference,” Erdan said, claiming that Hamas has run an official Twitter account since March 2015.

The minister threatened to take legal action against Twitter if the company did not comply with the Israeli demands.

“I have been informed by the relevant bodies in the Israel National Police and the Ministry of Justice that Twitter, unlike other social media companies, has largely been irresponsive to requests by the Israeli authorities to remove terrorist content and shut down terrorist accounts,” Erdan said, adding:

“Failure to do so may necessitate the initiation of legal and criminal proceedings against Twitter.”

In the letter, Erdan listed 17 accounts – attributed to the three groups – with the URLs included.

Separately, Erdan is hosting a cybersecurity conference in Jerusalem, attended by 20 ministers from around the world. Attendees plan to discuss the role of social media plays in terrorism networks today.

US Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, is attending the conference – and earlier today, she hosted the first official meeting at the new embassy in Jerusalem.

 

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