Lawmakers call on Twitter to remove terrorist support accounts from platform

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on Twitter to follow the example of Facebook and take down accounts that support terrorist organizations.

In a letter sent to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, they challenged him to remove all content from terrorist organizations and affiliated profiles by Nov. 1.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-New York, said while President Donald Trump’s tweets often draw criticism, he’s more concerned about the social media platform being used by terrorist organizations.

“Maybe we should not focus on the president’s Twitter,” Reed said. “We should focus on Hamas’ Twitter and Hezbollah’s Twitter account and say maybe that is where we should be rooting out this evil.”

Reed said the federal government and tech companies must guard against the spread of terror and hate online, beginning with Hamas and Hezbollah.

Social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram and Google have already taken action to remove terrorist organizations from their platforms.

“Twitter, on the other hand, decided no, there are some good people in Hamas and there are some good people in Hezbollah and they have a right to have access to the Twitter handle,” Reed said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was pressed on the issue last week by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-New Jersey, while testifying before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

“Mr. Zuckerberg do you agree with Twitter that foreign terrorist organizations designated by the United States of America belong on a social media platform, or should Twitter have to take down Hamas and Hezbollah affiliated accounts and content?” Gottheimer asked.

“I think all American companies should comply with American law,” Zuckerberg responded. “We do not allow them on our services.”

Twitter said they allow the group’s political arms to maintain accounts, but accounts affiliated with their military wings are permanently suspended.

In a letter, Twitter told lawmakers they make exceptions for organizations “currently engaging in peaceful resolution process.”