ISIS Ditinguishes Itself From Other Terror Groups By Exploiting Social Media

For almost as long as the Internet has been widely used, it has been used by terrorist groups to post executions, jihadist speeches and spread information about their goals and methodologies.

But ISIS has taken the exploitation of the Internet to a new level, says Robert Hannigan in the Financial Times.

“Terrorists have long made use of the internet. But Isis’s approach is different in two important areas. Where al-Qaeda and its affiliates saw the internet as a place to disseminate material anonymously or meet in ‘dark spaces’, Isis has embraced the web as a noisy channel in which to promote itself, intimidate people, and radicalise new recruits,” he writes.

He notes how ISIS uses social media in a way in which its audience understands, they speak their language and use the World Cup and Ebola hashtags to insert the Isis message into a wider news feed.

“There is no need for today’s would-be jihadis to seek out restricted websites with secret passwords: they can follow other young people posting their adventures in Syria as they would anywhere else,” adds Hannigan.

Social media has, for all intents and purposes, become a potent weapon in today’s modern warfare.

“In the past year, ISIS has used social media and the web to control the narrative of the conflict in Iraq and Syria. And though it borrows some tactics from propagandists like Vladimir Putin, ISIS has also proven a macabre trailblazer,” argues TechCrunch’s Jillian Kay Melchior.

She adds that social media is suited to the terror group, which is highly decentralized, and because “ISIS’s propaganda originates from thousands of individual sources, it’s much harder to counter.”

Combating the spread of propaganda on the Internet is extremely difficult, as one writer for the Wall Street Journal detailed in a recent article.

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