Twitter is a disgrace. After closing the accounts of numerous prominent conservatives, and allowing those who remain to be continually harassed with death threats and libel, it finally gets around to closing the accounts of some al-Qaeda leaders. Not their followers and allies, mind you; just the leaders. Perhaps to have moved with more dispatch would have been “Islamophobic.”
“Twitter accounts of Abu Qatada and other key al-Qaida figures suspended,” by Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian, December 26, 2016:
Twitter has suspended the account of Jordanian preacher and al-Qaida spiritual leader Abu Qatada, along with two other influential scholars aligned with the extremist group.
The three accounts, which between them had tens of thousands of followers and were used several times a day, were at the heart of an online network of al-Qaida supporters, said Cole Bunzel, scholar of jihadism at Princeton University. Bunzel tweeted:
The accounts focused mostly on the war in Syria, frequently attacking Islamic State, but also commented on other issues, from law to religious judgments.
“Attacking the west is not a priority in their messaging,” Bunzel told the Guardian. He added that Abu Qatada and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi’s commentary had mostly been limited to the war in Syria.
Twitter has cracked down heavily on Isis supporters, leading them to shift towards alternative messaging services including Telegram, but al-Qaida supporters have not been so heavily targeted.
“Twitter has been a permissive forum for supporters of al-Qaida as compared to supporters of the Islamic State who have been pushed off,” Bunzel said. “The focus of these crackdowns has been on the Islamic State.”
It was not clear what had prompted the shutdown, or whether the move would cause al-Qaida supporters to embrace other social networks. So far only major figures appear to have been targeted by Twitter, not their supporters, he said. “The people who were retweeting and interacting with these ‘big three’ online: they are still online, still communicating.”…