The use of twitter by ISIS to effectively share information in different languages went unnoticed by the government for some time. During this time, the sharing of propagandas and other information was done through the hashtag #spamming(Farwell, 2014). They also threatened the president of the united states Barrack Obama in their tweets during the protests after Michael brown’s death in 2014. The accounts used by ISIS were not detected by outsidersbecause of the insulated nature of societies as well as the use of multiple languages in their conversations. Also, most of the information conveyed by the ISIS members was coded using a fundamental interpretation rooted in the Quran language, thus made it hard for non-Muslims to interpret.Order now
According to Combs (2016), twitter has helped ISISto maintain a firm global determination which extends beyond Europe and Britain. Combs states that theISIS group gets support from about twenty other media groups such as Battar Media Group with more than 50,000 online followers and which encourages its followers to support ISIS in all means they can, such as by producing media independently. He further states that four days after the launch of the billion Muslim campaign, the campaign had generated over twenty thousand followers. During this time, twitter started producing images with encouraging words with the hashtag #AllEyesOnISIS. Despite the action of twitter of suspending many ISIS accounts, ISIS still prevails online and continues to threaten and radicalize people.
To promote the dominance of ISIS, ISIS fighters, sympathizers, and groups have started creating multiple twitter accounts like the Al-I’tisam page used to support the ISIS brand. These numerous accounts have transformed twitter into a megaphone of the ISIS. Despite the termination of most of these accounts, frequent updates on the proceedings of ISIS have been -given on them, which promotes the brand of ISIS. One of the most successful Twitter accounts that were greatly used to propagate ISIS was found to be @ShamiWitness with more than 20,000 active followers (Farwell, 2014). However, this account was later suspended by Twitter after its formation due to breaking of twitter’s terms and conditions as well as its impact on the people of Syria and other countries. The posts of this account were viewed more than two million times in a month, with more than 40 percent of foreign fighters being followers to this account. Later in 2014, the founder of this account Mehdi Masroor was identified and arrested by the Indian police. This caused the Islamic state followers to demand the release of Mehdi,which caused tension and fear in the country.
Impact of Facebook on ISIS
Facebook, in coordination with Google, has dramatically invested in programs that are based on artificial intelligence that helps in scanning their platforms for ISIS activities. Google developed a program, namely Redirect Method, which utilizes AdWords and YouTube videos aimed at radicalizing the young population. According to the data provided by Facebook, it states that it used to combine artificialintelligence and machine learning to eliminate millions of propaganda posted by ISIS in 2018(Gunaratna, 2016). Also, Facebook scrubbed most pages and groups associated with ISIS through the use of artificial intelligence tools. The programs have also made it possible to remove beheading videos from YouTube immediately after they are posted.
Once the slick videos on propaganda are broadcasted on numerous platforms, they are relegated to private groups on other platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram. During the Christchurch attack, Facebook reported more than 1.4 million versions of this incidentlive-streamed, which were removed from the platform in less than 24 hours. According to YouTube CEO, the shocking and violent video contents were never to be given a chance to prevail on their YouTube and thus would be eliminated immediately after detection. These videos however had spread far beyond their control thus kept recurring.
Based on the analysis done, most of the young people who join ISIS do it while searching for excitement, which leads to differences in the goals of each individual in the ISIS troop. Currently, the police officers and other security agencies in Syria are attempting to stay updated, arrest, and prosecute offenders while simultaneously striving to comprehend the power that social media has for terrorist groups such as ISIS(Farwell, 2014). Social media posts made by ISIS have significantly mobilized the citizens of Syria and other jihadist groups to take action on their digitized demands. Some of their recruitment deals have worked where they have recruited young people to join the group in consolidated settings. The use of social media is the most impressionable medium to achieve their targets by posting well-edited messages and media on platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
However, the use of social media by ISIS has been viewed with mix results. In most cases, as examined by the study, ISIS was seen as a brutal and oppressive group byFacebook and Twitter users. Therefore, they are much condemned since they neither represent the Muslims in Syria nor the Islamic religion at large(Gunaratna, 2016). Most Muslims in the country reported their discontentment with the actions of ISIS, stating that they were against the doctrines of the Islamic religion by killing innocent people. However, several people and groups agreed to the narrative of ISIS that they were fighting a global war, citing that they were victims.
Kurdish and ISIS
In 2014, October 22, one U.S Delta soldier was murdered while raiding to free seventy Kurdish prisoners that were held in Iraq by ISIS. The operation of the military saved 70 lives of prisoners. The area was greatly under control of the Kurdish forces, particularly the ones associated with Kurdistan Democratic Party. The forces were not able to defend the district and the ISIS therefore took control of the region. Several Yazidi’s people were displaced or killed while the female were kidnapped and raped. Two Kurdish media houses, Rudaw, and Kurdish News Network covered the event in their news report. In this, we can say that framing of media coverage in the region of the Kurdish is subjected to a bias of strong politics and media organizations support the political narratives advanced by their political patrons, as it is the case in most of the countries in the Middle East. Additionally, the raid offered valuable knowledge, resources, and material to establish a better effective strategy in defeating ISIS in the battleground and in social media and in the sphere of public opinion. The filming of the entire rescue operation was via helmet camera of one of the Kurdish soldiers who also participated in the operation. That footage was leaked to a network of the Kurdish media 2 days after operation .The video immediately became viral in social media with over 1.2 million viewers in 5 days only. That was 10 times more viewed than the most popular video that Department of State released over year. The video displaying the rescue images consist of core elements of becoming popular in the social media; 4-minute length video, shocking pictures, resonance of culture from action movies and an emotional, real story. The campaign’s success was promoted via 6 various Twitter accounts and it specialized in countering ISIS in the social media. The Twitter accounts have aired a video of ISIS against US raid. The data given by software of Twitter analysis, the 6 Twitter accounts published eight hundred and forty three tweets in a week, and the video of the Kurdish prisoner reached to audience of 711,313 users of Twitters. The campaign is empowered via publication of a separate 10-minute video with the actual testimonies of the seventy rescued Kurds in Arabic. The success of the campaign of Kurdish social media is a good illustration that news and how is communicated is very significant. The Iraq raid revealed 4 significant lessons for the US and other allied nations to counter effectively media communication strategy of ISIS:
- The operations of the military against terrorism must be accompanied by a digital media communication that offers visual and audio material on social media,
- Counter –narrative campaigns against ISIS must be on the basis of true Muslims and Arabs stories who have passed through the suffering inflicted by ISIS.
- The counter-narrative campaigns of the ISIS obtain several views and more engagement when they are distributed via non-governmental channels.
- Images and videos consisting of actual action pictures of operations of counter-terrorism are in great demand. For once, ISIS was defeated in social media. This is a fundamental start which shows the increasing significance of social media and communication in the strategy of defeating terror.