Analysis of ISIS Usage of Twitter and Social Medias

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I will analyze why ISIS has gained such a large amount of mainstream attention in the past three years with their effective usage of social network to distribute their message and attract potential recruits. With the constant development of the world, ISIS has succeeded in manipulating the online climate, creating headlines with its unprecedented and successful use of social media. The organization uses a variety of social networking applications to support its cause, including Facebook , Instagram, Tubmlr, Ask.fm and, most often, Twitter. They use twitter to spread slick and aggressive propaganda images, to support their political philosophy, and to communicate with people around the world.

In fact, the FBI identified ISIS as the most adapted terrorist organization to use the Internet and social media marketing to attract new members. While many factors may have contributed to their success – such as gaining territory on the ground and appealing to the communities in which they operate, quantifying the impact of their social strategy through the use of their messages is still crucial to a better understatement of their operations. Although Twitter suspends accounts that violate the terms of service, ISIS accounts, in particular, manage to stay longer on the service and post more tweets to spread their propaganda than other suspicious accounts.

Although many Islamist organizations, such as Al-Qaeda, operate Twitter accounts, ISIS is by far the most prominent user of social media. For a brief period of time, most of the majority of ISIS leaders operated separate official media centers with their own related Twitter pages. An example would be Al-Itisam, who had more than 50,000 Twitter followers before his account was suspended in 2014. Such pages were used to exchange various contents of the Al-Hayat Media Center and also concentrated on recruiting westerners, maintaining a handful of these pages in English only. By late 2014 and early 2015, Twitter improved their securities protocols, and these “official” accounts had mostly been suspended by Twitter.

Twitter networks are a concern for the government seeking to counter ISIS threats and discourage online recruiting. In 2011, the Obama administration founded the United States Centre for Strategic Counter-Terrorism Communications, which attempts to provide social media counter-messages and to deter possible ISIS sympathizers from supporting ISIS. In an attempt to combat the circulation of messages, the Center also initiated a program entitled ‘Think again, Turn away’ to counter twitter posts through various government intelligence organizations, such as the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

The Centre also assured that international language experts will be employed to counter messages in various languages such as Arabic, Urdu and Punjabi However, given all this, the Center remains relatively low and is unable to counter the enormous amount of pro-ISIS messages that are posted on the Internet every day. For example, in 2015, the best estimate of total number of overt ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter were about 46,000, while maximum estimate of ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter were around 90,000.

A clear example of how ISIS makes the strongest use of Twitter would be the case of a black teenager named Miachel Brown, who was shot dead by a white officer in Ferguson , Missouri. ISIS and its supporters tweeted regularly during racially charged protests, ‘So how is democracy treating you guys? ‘One ISIS tweet, clearly aimed at young African AmericansThe target group of these tweets tried to get Black Americans to rise up and embrace the caliphate under hastags such as # ISISinFerguson and # JihadinFerguson. A lot of people would believe this wouldn’t work so well, but during a live CNN broadcast from Ferguson, a demonstrator was seen holding a large sign saying, ‘ISIS is here.’ What happened to the demonstrator who supported one of the most brutal extremist organizations in the world is unclear.

The same month that Ferguson was dominating the headlines, ISIS used the trending hashtags # napquake and #napaearthquake to post pro-ISIS intimidation and photos of dead U.S. soldiers following the 6.0 magnitude of the Bay Area earthquake. ISIS hashtag hijacking implied that if anyone wanted to look for information or news about the earthquake on Twitter at the moment, the reuslts ended up in the flood of ISIS propaganda.

One of the common strategies of ISIS followers is to take pictures of themselves raising small ISIS flags or posters in front of Western landmarks, with their faces hidden or out of sight. For example, a picture of an ISIS supporter In front of the Old Republic Building in Chicago sparked a controversy when it was uploaded to Twitter in 2014. Throughout the photo you can see a handwritten note in Arabic that states, ‘Soldiers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will pass from here soon’. See Figure 6 for details.

The same month, another photo of an Islamist, standing across the street from the White House, was posted on twitter the title, “#AmessagefromUStoISIS we are here #America near our #target 🙂 sooooooooooooon.”. The tweets not only show that ISIS supporters are indeed in American cities and in close proximity to what some might call important political targets.

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Analysis of ISIS Usage of Twitter and Social Medias. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-isis-usage-of-twitter-and-social-medias/

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