Simon Wiesenthal Center Meeting With Twitter: "A Positive First Step to Thwart Growing Use of Social Media Giant by Terrorists and Bigots”

Tokyo — November 7th, 2013 — A senior official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO, told a briefing on extremists' use of Internet technologies at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo yesterday that he is hopeful that social networking giant Twitter will begin to deal seriously with the growing use of its service by international terrorist groups and other extremists.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, who founded and heads its Digital Terrorism and Hate Project, included a list of a dozen active Twitter accounts of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and Al ShabaabAlexis in his presentation. "Our senior researcher submitted this list and many others linked to extremists during a 90-minute meeting yesterday at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco with officials of the social networking giant.”

"Twitter acknowledged the problems and has committed to begin to address them in a meaningful way," Rabbi Cooper said. "There is a lot of work ahead in order to deal with this growing menace. We look forward to working with Twitter as they develop effective protocols and transparent and meaningful rules to thwart the digital food chain of terrorism that increasingly includes their dynamic service.

"The importance to act now was highlighted by no one less than US Attorney General Eric Holder who said yesterday that he fears more "lone wolf" terrorist attacks. Many lone wolf terrorists rely on downloading how-to manuals. Indeed, the Boston Marathon bombers received instructions for the deadly pressure cooker bombs they deployed from the Internet. The Wiesenthal Center is committed to building effective global coalitions of Internet companies, NGOs, community activists and governments to thwart the growing threats from online hate and terrorism,” he added.
For the past 15 years, the Wiesenthal Center puts out an annual report on digital hate. It is currently tracking 20,000 problematic websites, social media pages, and videos. It also grades leading Social Networking companies. Facebook has earned an A- for its commitment to deal with the issue, and until now Twitter had received an F. “We expect that grade to change dramatically,” Cooper concluded.

Rabbi Cooper is available for comment at 1-310-210-9750 or at acooper@wiesenthal.com.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino