Use of Social Media by ISIS

Here are two articles about how effectively the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) -- the militant group that has just taken over half of Iraq -- is using social media. Its dedicated Android app, that automatically tweets in its users' names, is especially interesting. Also note how it coordinates the Twitter bombs for maximum effectiveness and to get around Twitter's spam detectors.

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM • 10 Comments


Darryl BarnesJune 17, 2014 11:39 AM

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, US, UK, France... the list of countries quite openly supporting the Syrian insurgency over the last few years is quite large. In all probability one of them(US at a guess) has provided the social media training and tech "ISIS" is now using.

flaphoundJune 17, 2014 12:35 PM

This is the sort of thing that keeps governments (stable or otherwise) up at night- insurgents/rebels/terrorists/freedom fighters now have a solid, relatively easy to use platform for coordinating action, instantly and over virtually any distance.

ChristianJune 17, 2014 1:07 PM

@flaphound Free speech is now a problem to freedom?

I might hate what they say or do. Also the spamming aspect of it.
But I would never blame a platform for communication because it can be used to communicate by everyone.

Bob S.June 17, 2014 2:12 PM

The response to ISIS social media recruitment tweets:

Iraq Orders Complete Internet Shutdown in 5 Provinces

Also, if you dare look at some of the ISIS snuff vids you realize they are recruiting a lot of opposition.

Most Americans think shutting down the internet is something done by backward foreign countries like Iraq. But, indeed it's been done here. In short it can and will happen here soon for much less reason than a civil war. (Because: THEY can.)

(New Law Lets Government Shut Down Cell Service, but Only in an “Emergency”)

I am fairly sure there is real time interference with the internet and cell reception going on at times here in the USA which would, normally, alarm millions of people not to mention elected representatives. But, it seems those days are gone too...after all it's for our own good.


BenniJune 17, 2014 5:17 PM

Extremists are using social media for some time now.

And the US created their program "sockpuppet" in order to troll them with paid agents owning fake identities on a regular basis:

This was revealed 2011 by the guardian. The russians took note of this and made an upgrade of their own techniques. And today comment sections of newspapers and internetforums, especially in europe or the US are flooded by comments of paid russian agents:

The difference is that the US attempts to covertly manipulate social media end up in the guardian, while the russian agents get exposed by a "hacker group" which is apparently powerfull enough to e.g leak the speeches of the russian president before he makes them. The "hacker group" also shows photographs of secret cremlin documents sometimes. Usually one would think this is the business of intelligence agencies, like the NSA...

At least the russian company which pays their government trolls has officially admitted now to the german press that they are doing this.

Perhaps US sockpuppets and russian government trolls can now unite and troll islamic groups like isis in social media with their sockpuppet armies together?

GopiballavaJune 17, 2014 8:20 PM

Could an expert troll be good enough at trolling to actually distract them from their main activity, killing and maiming people?

There'd be a lot of pressure on the troll there. You'd be wondering...was my last troll good enough? Did I goad them enough that they just *have* to respond? Or was it lame, and they've gone back to work on building IEDs?

MikeAJune 18, 2014 3:00 PM

Cui Bono? Who benefits from the wide publicity of brutal acts? Who has lots of technical expertise? How about Iran? Not the Supreme Leader (at least not without plausible deniability), but the Revolutionary Guard has plenty of Means, Motive, and Opportunity. As Bob S. writes above, they are recruiting a lot of opposition

Andrew WallaceJune 18, 2014 3:26 PM

Just in time for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Scottish Referendum 2014. We need to convince Scotland staying part of the United Kingdom is in the national security interest.

haxxJune 19, 2014 11:15 AM

I bet their twitter app doesn't have the cert pinned, prob wide open to MITM attacks

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