New police team to hunt down, block IS social media accounts

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

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

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.

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

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

Rob Wainwright, Europol's director, told the Guardian that the remit of the new team, which starts its work on 1 July, would be to "identify the ringleaders online".

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

Analysts at the Brookings Institution in Washington say the number of IS-linked Twitter accounts could even be as high as 90,000.

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