Twitter suspends accounts sharing images of journalist's alleged execution

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo NewsAugust 20, 2014
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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced on Wednesday that the company is suspending the accounts of users who post graphic images related to the alleged beheading of James Foley, the American photojournalist kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago.

"We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery," Costolo tweeted. "Thank you."

On Tuesday, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) posted a five-minute video of Foley's apparent execution to YouTube, leading to worldwide outrage.

Costolo's announcement followed an outcry by Twitter users calling for a media blackout of images connected to the execution after the video began showing up unannounced embedded in their feeds. (The hashtag #ISISMediaBlackout began trending shortly after the video's release.)

"Please honor James Foley and respect my family's privacy," Foley's sister Kelly Foley tweeted. "Don't watch the video. Don't share it. That's not how life should be."

Despite that request, on Wednesday, the New York Post's front page featured a still image from the video showing a masked ISIS militant holding a knife to Foley's throat above the headline, "SAVAGES."

The Post also tweeted an image of the cover, sparking even more outrage.

Some users, however, supported the Post's decision, saying shock and awe is the only way to get Americans to pay attention.

Others wondered whether Twitter would suspend the Post's Twitter feed for sharing the image.