It’s been about two years since the Islamic State otherwise known as ISIS made a bold move to occupy great parts of Iraq and Syria even though they had been in existence longer than two years. They expanded territories which they occupied and embarked on an unprecedented recruitment style which the world hadn’t seen before now. They used social media really well to recruit people from not just the middle east but from the United States and Europe alike. Many of these recruits then return home to attack public facilities as we have seen in Paris, Belgium, San Bernardino and Orlando both in the United States. Sometimes, they do just simply train and indoctrinate people over the internet. One tool they have used very well though according to the US State Department is Twitter. They have “successfully” used Twitter to carry out recruitments according to reports.
Twitter eventually deactivated about 125,000 of such accounts. Of course ISIS didn’t take this lightly at all which led them to releasing a video threatening the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter in a propaganda message. “You announce daily that you suspend many of our accounts, and to you we say: Is that all you can do? You are not in our league,” text on the video clip reads. “If you close one account we will take 10 in return and soon your names will be erased after we delete your sites, Allah willing, and will know that we say is true.” After the Paris attacks, another unlikely ally arose to wage a cyber war against the Islamic state. The group known as Anonymous announced that they would try and take down the Islamic state’s online infrastructure in a message posted on YouTube; “You should know that we will find you, and we will not let you go. We will launch the biggest operation ever against you,” the Anonymous spokesperson added. “The French people are stronger than you and will come out of this atrocity even stronger.”
The US and its allies have since through aerial bombardments and soldiers on the ground have taken territories back in Iraq. The US uses images and writings even in Arabic to pass their message across. For example, A teddy bear with writings on it saying ISIS kills children that are supposed to be seen as innocent by all sane people. They also use images such as a woman wearing a hijab with bloody tears which passes the message f a woman being enslaved and humiliated. This seems to have had some effect because after the Twitter deactivation of many of them, others saw a big number of accounts unfollowing them on Twitter. In some cases, some accounts lost about 1,200 followers from an average of 1,500 followers each. A report shows a 6-1 ratio of anti-IS content online compared with pro-IS content; an improvement from this time last year.
In total it is estimated that the Islamic state may have lost about 45 percent of their traffic in just two year.