Twitter 'confuses' Iyad El-Baghdadi with Islamic State leader

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Twitter recently tightened its rules for users

An Arab Spring activist says his Twitter account was suspended after administrators mistook him for the leader of the so-called Islamic State.

Iyad El-Baghdadi said his account was suspended for about half an hour.

Mr El-Baghdadi had been misidentified as IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Indonesian newspaper Republika and the New York Post.

He has more than 70,000 Twitter followers and frequently mocks IS. Twitter has made no comment.

Image source, @iyad_elbaghdadi
Image source, @iyad_elbaghdadi

Twitter recently updated its rules on "abusive behaviour and hateful conduct" in a bid to better protect users. It has been criticised for not doing enough to stop IS using the platform for propaganda purposes.

The company says users are not allowed to threaten or promote terrorism.

Mr El Baghdadi told the BBC he received a message from Twitter saying he had "violated" its rules but not specifying the offence. He has accused Twitter of being racist.

"I don't think a single Arab country exists that doesn't have a family with the surname El-Baghdadi," he tweeted.

The activist, who also researches radicalisation, said the alleged incident raised questions about Twitter's security processes. He said the company needed to be "more transparent" about why and how people are suspended.

Twitter should "engage power users who deal with trolls regularly", he added.

The company does not comment on individual users' cases for privacy reasons.