IThe number one bloodthirsty terrorist group that the world has ever known has also become a known manipulator of social media.
For jihadists, migrating to social media platforms from online chat forums came late, but they’ve even adopted social media skillfully although the migration happened late. The strategy that took years to develop has grown to become a sophisticated campaign. And, right now, right at the center of the globe’s attention, ISIS has engaged its skill extensively to communicate to an American audience directly.
The very first time that most Americans witnessed ISIS addressing them was through the filmed execution of James Foley, but the truth is that the Westerners have been the group’s target for months.
According to an associate research at the Council on Foreign Relations, Emerson Brooking, Mosul was the first huge turning point, talking about the capture of the city by ISIS in early June. “The group did a lot of underground work and pre-planning on social media deployment into their offensive acts, and their effort seemed to have paid off eventually”, Emerson said. He added that the spike in English images and videos are quite notable.
The group knew it would attract the world’s attention if it succeeds in taking Mosul and had made preparations about what it intended to say. Their efforts to win global audience were seen earlier in Syria’s civil war that showed the refining of the group’s messaging online.
Kicking off in Iraq and spreading later to Syria following its entry into the war in 2013, the group engaged social platform in making its slaughter campaign and threats to enemies public. ISIS’s notoriety for brutality enhanced its military prowess, which made the group’s enemies helpless and caused a good number to run from battle. This actually was an old strategy deployed into new technology. A senior associate at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Clint Watts said; “in the course of the United States war in Iraq, the group formerly known as al Qaeda in Iraq learned the method to get the attention of U.S audience and penetrate them.” There’s a difference now however, which is the group does not rely any longer on intermediaries to publicize its barbaric acts.
Right now, with their new mode of operation, the ISIS is able to post its propaganda and watch its global reach just in few minutes or hours. The secluded internet forums that ISIS once engaged in carrying out majority of their communicating are not like Facebook and Twitter which by nature are both open and public. As a result, any fighter in the battle field among this group does not hesitate in uploading image of mutilated bodies by his side since the group resorted toFacebook and Twitter – the two most popular social platforms.