Efforts by Twitter to combat use of the platform by the so-called Islamic State group are working, a new study by researchers from DCU has found.
The VOX-Pol project discovered the Twitter policy of rapidly taking down accounts that support IS is effective at substantially and aggressively disrupting the activity.
But the study also warns that a range of other violent jihadi groups are still able to keep up a noticeable social media presence despite the effectiveness of the action against IS.
The research, led by Professor Maura Conway from DCU's School of Law & Government and working with colleagues at the University of Sussex, examined the postings of 722 pro-IS accounts made up of over 57,574 tweets.
The tweets of 451 "other jihadist groups" with 62,156 tweets were also analysed.
The research concluded that the other jihadi accounts were able to send six times as many tweets and follow or "friend" four times as many accounts as pro-IS accounts.
This meant they were able to gain 13 times as many followers as pro-IS accounts.
In fact only 1% of other jihadi accounts saw any disruption within the first five days after their creation, compared to a quarter of pro-IS accounts which were immediately suspended.
In one 24-hour period in April, during which 153 pro-IS accounts that shared out links to official IS propaganda, 65% of these accounts were suspended within the first 17 hours.
"Our findings show that Twitter is strongly focused on disrupting Islamic State, which means that the platform is now a much less conducive environment for the group than it once was," said Prof Conway.
"However, this has enabled other violent jihadi groups to maintain their presence and to continue to spread their message with much less hindrance than that faced by IS."
The study found Twitter is just one element of the social media presence maintained by jihadis, with YouTube, Google Drive, justpaste.it and IS's own server among the other tools used to spread the message.