Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Twitter Shuts Security Account Linked to Iraq PM

Twitter Shuts Security Account Linked to Iraq PM

Monday, 4 March, 2019 - 08:15
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. (Reuters)
Baghdad - Fadel al-Nashmi
Twitter has closed the official account of the “Security Media Cell” that is affiliated with the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The cell was initially formed under the name of the “Military Information Cell” after the ISIS terrorist organization took over large swathes of Iraqi territory in June 2014.

During the war on ISIS, the Cell played a pivotal role in disseminating combat-related military information and information from the Joint Operations Command.

It did not comment on the shutdown, but a source close to it told Asharq al-Awsat that “Twitter has suspended, not closed, the account.” It added that a specialized team submitted a request to the platform to lift the suspension.

It is likely that the reason for the closure might be due to fake reports by some extremist Twitter users, added the source.

"The account, which was set up on February 18... only had 10 tweets and 420 followers at the time of its suspension," said the Center for Digital Media, which specializes in monitoring and analyzing social network issues.

The Center's statement called on Twitter to review its decision, adding that it is important to revise its laws and accurately check the reports it receives, which should not be relied upon as the sole reason for shutting down accounts that do not violate its regulations.

Social media researcher Muhannad Habib al-Samawi said that Twitter has suspended the account and not closed it completely. It is up to Twitter whether to allow it to resume using the account or not, although there are no clear reasons for its decision.

Samawi told Asharq al-Awsat that he does not think the Cell made a serious mistake that would demand the permanent closure of its account.

Asked whether the lack of verification of the account contributed to its suspension, he said that Twitter could still suspend a verified account in the event of violation of its regulations, whether related to property rights, or promotion of violence and incitement to murder or hate, as well as impersonation or identity theft.

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