By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — The chief executive officer of Twitter says the social media service is actively suspending accounts that post images or video of the execution of an American journalist by Islamic extremists.

James Foley, who held a master’s degree from Northwestern University, was beheaded by a member of the extremist group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

The video showing the ghastly execution by a man dressed in all black was released by ISIS and was available for a short time on You Tube.

His mother, Diane Foley, said in a statement her son “gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.”

Twitter’s Dick Costolo sent out this tweet:

Twitter’s decision was applauded by many on social media, who said they have no desire to watch or be exposed to the graphic images of a man’s death.

Others, however, questioned whether the decision was a “slippery slope” toward censorship.

Some asked why it was OK to allow images of Mike Brown’s dead body after he was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Foley is the oldest of five children. He reported from the Middle East for the past five years, according to his website.
He graduated with a master’s degree from Medill in 2008.

In a statement to CBS 2, James’ mother Diane said, ““We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

“We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

“We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect out privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”