Twitter has shut down the accounts of 35 Hamas and Hezbollah terror supporters in Israel, and blocked two accounts run by Hamas, according to the Public Security Ministry. The blocking of the accounts was the result of a request to Twitter to do so several weeks ago by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the Ministry said.
Erdan had submitted the names of 40 specific accounts to Twitter, saying that they supported anti-Israel terror and were rife with anti-Israel incitement. At the same time, Erdan wrote in his own Twitter post that he didn’t expect much to come of his request, as “Twitter usually does not respond to requests from Israeli authorities to remove terror-related content and close the accounts of terrorists,” he wrote.
He added that if Twitter did not respond this time, it could expect to face legal action in Israel.
A report in Haaretz Tuesday said that it appeared that Twitter had indeed blocked at least some of the accounts in question – but only from access within Israel. Accounts associated with Hamas, for example, could still be accessed from outside Israel, and users inside Israel could access it using a virtual private network (VPN).
Speaking at a Knesset discussion earlier this year, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that Twitter was now Hamas’s main outlet on social media. Using the service, she said, “the terror groups organize activities and spread incitement in a public manner, with no concern about who is watching. They have moved away from Facebook because of the increased cooperation between Facebook and the government on removing terror from that network.”