European Police to Block IS Online Accounts

European Police to Block IS Online AccountsEuropean Police to Block IS Online Accounts

A Europe-wide police team is being formed to track and block social media accounts linked to Islamic State.

A recent US study found there were at least 46,000 accounts on Twitter linked to the militant group, many of which help to recruit new IS members.

The European police agency Europol will now work with unnamed social media companies to track the accounts, BBC reported.

They aim to get new accounts closed down within two hours of them being set up.

The number of IS-linked Twitter accounts could be as high as 90,000, according to a paper by the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Europol believes up to 5,000 EU citizens, including people from the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, have traveled to territories controlled by IS.

Rob Wainwright, Europol’s director, said the new team, which starts its work from the beginning of July, “would be an effective way of combating the problem.”

However, he said tracking all IS-linked social media accounts is too big a task.

“We will have to combine what we see online, with our own intelligence and that that is shared with us by European police services, so we can be a bit more targeted and identify who the key user accounts are ... and concentrate on closing them down.”

IS uses “official” accounts controlled and operated from within Syria and Iraq and a huge network of supporters and propagandists further afield. Every tweet, video and speech is shared and magnified in a way that is exceptionally difficult to track and stop.