House Passes Gottheimer Provision to Combat Foreign Terrorism on Social Media Networks — Twitter Has Failed to Deliver on Public Commitment to Fight Terror

Jul 21, 2020
Press

Gottheimer provision requires Secretaries of Defense and State to investigate and report to Congress on online radicalization threats to our homeland security

On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, the House passed bipartisan legislation that included U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s (NJ-5) provision to combat foreign terrorist organizations spreading extremist propaganda on social media.

The legislation requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to report to Congress on the use of online social media by State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and the threat posed to U.S. national security by online radicalization.

In late October 2019, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Tom Reed (NY-23), Max Rose (NY-11), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) wrote a letter demanding Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey remove all content from Foreign Terrorist Organizations and affiliated profiles, including Hamas and Hezbollah, by November 1st. 

In early November 2019, in response to the Gottheimer-led efforts, Twitter suspended some content affiliated with Foreign Terrorist Organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah, from its platform. Among the accounts that Twitter suspended at the time were both the official English and Arabic language accounts of the terrorist Hamas movement, the English and Arabic language accounts of Hezbollah television channel and propaganda news service Al-Manar, the Hamas television channel and propaganda news service Quds News Network, and other Hamas and Hezbollah affiliated activists.

Then, last week, public reporting detailed Facebook accounts linked to ISIS are still evading detection on the platform, allowing them to continue to generate extremist content online.

Earlier this week, Gottheimer spoke on the House floor urging support for this provision. Watch HERE

“There is simply no reason why terrorist organizations, that have killed countless Americans and our allies, deserve access to social media platforms to promote themselves as sponsors of violent, radical, hate-filled extremism. A bipartisan initiative I’ve led in Congress over the past year has had success in pushing Twitter and other social media networks to suspend terrorist content from their platforms, including accounts affiliated with Hamas and Hezbollah  — but plenty of terrorist content remains and we must remain vigilant,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Financial Services Committee’s National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee. “There is no responsibility I take more seriously than protecting the United States and our families, and standing up for those who risk their lives to do so. With the House passing my provision today, we are taking vital steps for our federal government to address the threat that the presence of violent extremist content online poses to our national security.”

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