When Fighting Back Means Tweeting Back

Heads up that this video from the State Department contains some really graphic stuff:

Zenon Evans has details:

Playing catchup to ISIL’s spread throughout social media, the U.S. government is also posting daily on the Facebook and Twitter. The campaign is called “Think Again, [Turn] Away” and it’s geared at English-speakers who are tempted to join the terrorist organization. Britain recently raised an alarm because its defense department believe around 600 citizens have taken up arms for ISIL, though some estimate as many as 1,500 have. There are also an estimated 100 American citizens and a sum total of 3,000 Westerners who have joined the fight to establish a Caliphate throughout much of the Middle East. America’s information front focuses a lot on kids: ISIL isn’t letting kids go to school, ISIL is eating meat while children eat bread, ISIL is killing children and using them as suicide bombers. It also features on individuals who became jihadists but are now disillusioned with the fight, as well as Muslims who denounce ISIL as hypocritical and unfaithful to the religion’s teachings.

Alex Altman measures what the US is up against in this battle:

Much of the terrorist group’s work has taken place on Twitter. “2013 was the year of Twitter for Al-Qaeda and ISIS,” [Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications coordinator Alberto] Fernandez says. Since May, more than 60,000 Twitter accounts have been set up to herald the group, including 27,000 since the murder of Foley last month, according to an analysis conducted by Recorded Future, a web analytics firm, for the British media outlet Sky News. ISIS has used the platform both to spread grotesque photos of decapitated heads and bloodied bodies—”jihad porn,” as government officials call it—and to recruit potential conscripts. As Twitter cracked down on some of the gory imagery, an ISIS adherent even called for themurder of the site’s employees.

In the meantime, many of the group’s members have fled the site, terrorism analysts say, for more obscure social-media platforms like Friendica, Diaspora and VK (a Russian social-networking site used by the Boston bombers). The U.S. still finds itself outmatched as it tries to suss out and rebut all this activity.