Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR ) were down 10.3% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday following a report that the Israeli government is weighing whether to take legal action against the social media site.
According to Bloomberg this morning, Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked alleges that Twitter has repeatedly ignored requests to remove online content that incites or supports terrorism.
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“Terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah have moved to Twitter instead of Facebook ,” Shaked wrote in an emailed statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday. “Through Twitter, the terrorist organizations promote terror and incite to violence, including public activity that they carry out without fear.”
As such, and without offering specific details, Shaked is considering taking “legal action” against Twitter.
Bloomberg also notes that the move appears to be part of a recently ramped effort by the Israeli government to stem the utility of social media to terrorists. Israel submitted 12,351 requests to companies to remove social media posts last year, or almost six times the number it submitted in 2016.
But make no mistake: Such a move would be highly unusual, and it seems unlikely that Israel will follow through on its vague threat. Even then, however, it seems equally likely that the negative publicity generated by Shaked’s email will serve as a call-to-action for Twitter to accelerate its own initiatives to prevent such activity on — and remove existing questionable posts from — its platform.
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