Republican lawmakers call for Twitter terrorist ban

A group of House Republicans wants the FBI to talk to Twitter about banning known terrorist groups from the social network.


Kris Holt


Published Nov 26, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 6:43 am CDT

Lawmakers have again set their sights on Twitter accounts run by terror groups following this month’s Gaza conflict.

In September, seven House Republicans urged the FBI and its director, Robert Mueller, to plead with Twitter to remove the accounts of groups the U.S. designates as terrorist organizations. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who led the group, believes that the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and how it played out on Twitter, justified such a request.

“Allowing foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy,” Poe told The Hill. “The FBI and Twitter must recognize sooner rather than later that social media is a tool for the terrorists.”

The reaffirmed call followed a petition from Christians United for Israel to have Hamas banned from Twitter. The pro-Israel group claims it is illegal for an American firm to provide “material support” to a terrorist organization.

As the week-long battle escalated between Hamas and Israel before last Wednesday’s ceasefire, both sides made heavy use of Twitter and other networks to spread the word about the conflict from their respective perspectives and occasionally bicker between themselves.

The Republicans called for the FBI to have a number of terrorist groups blocked from Twitter, including Hezbollah and al Shabaab, while the Taliban is among those using the network to recruit members and spread propaganda. The United Nations issued a report last month stating that terrorists also use social networks to plan attacks.

Photo via Bill King/YouTube

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*First Published: Nov 26, 2012, 1:13 pm CST