Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

ISIS’ Social Media Fronts Weaken | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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ISIS, socialmedia

While ISIS is losing more of its control areas in Syria and Iraq, Western governments have continued their strikes against the organization’s fronts on social media websites.

According to an Egyptian study, ISIS has lost around 45% of its advertising activities on Twitter, on which it depended over the past years to release its news and attract more supporters for the backlines of its fighting fronts. Experts in extremist groups affairs said that compared with the few past months, ISIS’ accounts on social media are being swiftly closed, and new accounts are unable to survive for more than two days.

Experts say that activities which the organization seeks to spread among social media users are bombings and murders using kitchen knives according to the Lone Wolf’s strategy, particularly in European countries. Apparently, internet forums and social media websites like Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, What’s app, and Instagram have become the most important tool for terrorist organizations to spread their thoughts and beliefs, set and implement plans, and recruit members.

Observers note that 80% of new militants’ recruitments is being done through social media networks, versus 20% in mosques and prisons, unlike in 2012, were the biggest recruitment activity used to take place in prisons, which reflects the electronic development and knowledge in the organization.

However, the Egyptian study has asserted that the recruitment rate has dropped because of campaigns launched by Western governments against ISIS’s extremist messages. These governments use anti-extremist accounts and hacking operations to prevent the terrorist organization from promoting its ideologies.

The study reports that the ISIS-related accounts have dropped to 400 compared with 1600 in 2014. It is worth mentioning that ISIS released a propaganda video in which it threatens Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The 25-minute videoshowed pictures of the founders being blasted with a hail of bullets before ending with a direct threat. The organization also alleged that it breached more than 10,000 accounts and 150 groups on Facebook and more that 5,000 accounts on Twitter.

According to Western studies, ISIS-supporting accounts on Twitter have surpassed 46,000 that include Arabic, English and French accounts.

Egyptian Technology Expert Hisham abu al-Dahab says that Twitter is the most common website among ISIS’s supporters, who use the ASKfm App to answer some questions on daily life issues and to recruit young members. The Egyptian Expert notes that the organization also uses Jihadist forums on the network to exchange information through

advanced encryption programs that allow communication with members and facilitate their borders’ crossing.

Dr. Hamed al-Mekkawi, professor at Al Azhar said that ISIS counted on the electronic support in composing its electronic army and has succeeded in recruiting scholars and experts in many fields. He also pointed that the organization has 130,000 pages on Facebook and an English monthly electronic magazine known as Dabiq that discusses many subjects like politics, religion, and bomb making.

The Egyptian study reports that managements of the most common social media websites Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube plan organized campaigns to omit accounts of ISIS’s supporters and promoters known as “Ansar”, which represents a war for the organization with Western governments.