Following the terrorism and turmoil caused by ISIS in France, both foreign and domestic authorities have been working diligently to decipher the caliphate’s approach to recruiting.
Turns out, they have learned to master social media.
Most notably, ISIS almost exclusively used the Telegram app for its malevolent recruiting. It appears those cowards are playing Whack-A-Mole online. CNNMoney.com reported that every time Telegram would shut down a terrorism-affiliated account… WHACK! They would create another. This happened 78 times so far.
Thanks to the ease of anonymity on social media, has ISIS discovered the loophole online that will help them continue to grow and recruit new members, despite numerous nations trying to shut them down?
Hillary is asking for all platforms to shut down terrorist’s handles, but come on… would that even work? In a word, #No. Here’s what Facebook had to say:
There is no place for terrorists on Facebook. We work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site, and we also remove any content that praises or supports terrorism. We have a community of more than 1.5 billion people who are very good at letting us know when something is not right.
We make it easy for them to flag content for us, and they do. We have a global team responding to those reports around the clock, and we prioritize any safety-related report, including any terrorism-related reports, for immediate review.
Unfortunately, that global team isn’t thinking like most agencies. For example, do you really think ISIS would be dumb enough to open an account under the name of ISIS?! Yes, they do, regretfully for this girl:
Anchalee, a software developer in San Francisco, on Monday posted a screenshot of a Facebook log-in page that showed a message “Account disabled”. She wrote to Facebook’s Twitter page (@facebook), “why would you disable my personal account? MY REAL NAME IS ISIS ANCHALEE“.
The Fiscal Times says that Ms. Anchalee’s account was re-opened after some sleuth research. Just because a woman is named after an Egyptian goddess doesn’t mean she wants to blow up innocent people. But what’s a social network to do?
- President Obama: The group responsible for the Paris terror attacks is “a bunch of killers with good social media,” he said. “They are dangerous and they’ve caused great hardship to … an overwhelming majority of people.”
- FBI Director James Comey: We can’t yet restrain ISIS on social media.
- U.S. Department of State: “There’s no question what we’re combating with ISIL’s propaganda machine is something we have not seen before,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told CNN. “It’s something we need to do a lot more work on. We are seeing 90,000, I think, tweets a day that we’re combating.”
- U.K. Surveillance: U.K. surveillance chief Robert Hannigan has said ISIS and other extremist groups use platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to reach their target audience in a language it understands. Their methods include exploiting popular hashtags to disseminate their message, he said.
- CIA Director John Brennan: “I do think this is a time for particularly Europe as well as the US for us to take a look and see whether or not there have been some inadvertent or intentional gaps that have been created in the ability of intelligence services to protect the people that they are asked to serve,” Brennan said.
Social media is global, and ISIS wants to be that way as well. According to research from the Brookings Institute, ISIS supporters used some 46,000 Twitter accounts between September and December 2014, though not all were active at the same time.
One thing is clear: As long as ISIS is out there, the cracked cyber teams with global governments will be too. Also, you can pretty much shut down your Net Neutrality arguments for the time being.
[FEATURED PHOTO: The Daily Beast]