For immediate release | Friday, November 8, 2019

Tech & Terrorism: Twitter Reverses Course, Suspends Hamas and Hezbollah

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Following Public Outrage and Criticism from U.S. Lawmakers, Twitter Reverses Policy

(New York, N.Y.) - Twitter has suspended internationally designated terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah from its platform. The decision came in response to criticism and pressure from U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Tom Reed, Max Rose, and Brian Fitzpatrick, who demanded the tech giant eliminate the terrorist groups’ online privileges. Prior to its announced decision, Twitter had carved out exceptions for the two terrorist groups, claiming that they had “engaged in active peace resolution processes to remain online” before reversing course and stating that “illegal terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups” had “no place on Twitter.” 

“Unsurprisingly, Twitter’s abrupt course correction did not occur until after a public outcry, and we commend those members of Congress for their efforts to hold the company accountable,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen. “Hamas and Hezbollah are internationally designated terrorist groups that never should have been allowed access to a popular social media platform like Twitter in the first place. In fact, Twitter had already removed Hamas previously, in 2016, before its absurd and inconsistent decision to allow them to operate again. Twitter’s inability to enforce its own standards consistently demonstrates how tech continues to apply its rules when it deems it convenient. Clearly these companies cannot be trusted to ‘self-regulate.’ Government oversight is needed to ensure that the tech industry operates in a way that protects our national security.”

Hamas has forcibly ruled the Gaza strip since 2007. The terror group has  survived on Iranian and Qatari aid, which they utilize for martyr payments and purchasing advanced weaponry. Hamas has also been responsible for thousands of Qassam rockets fired at Israeli towns, a 2006 cross-border raid resulting in the five-year captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and three wars with Israel, most recently in the summer of 2014.

Iran’s primary proxy Hezbollah carries out global terrorist campaigns and continues to maintain a stronghold within Lebanon. Hezbollah has been responsible for murderous terror attacks against Israeli, American, and Jewish targets around the globe. Until September 11, 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist organization. Among other deadly attacks, Hezbollah has been linked to the 1983 attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon; the 1992 suicide bombing at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the 1994 suicide bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires; and the 2012 bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria.