ISIS has reportedly launched an application on Android. The app intends to spread ‘news’ and ‘videos’ from its controlled regions. This is the latest manifestation of the Islamic State’s propaganda strategy aimed at spreading its ideology across the world.
ISIS supporters and jihadists have been distributing the new Android app which categorizes information under headings such as ‘news’, ‘photos reports’, ‘daily al-Bayan Radio news bulletins’, and ‘video productions’. It is not clear how the app will help ISIS to extend beyond a geographic battlefield and disseminate brutality online.
The ISIS app and the online war of ideas
The continued success of ISIS in using social media platforms for global recruitment has frustrated American officials who are now taking the war on ISIS on Twitter and YouTube, where such initiatives as the Think Again Turn Away have emerged. The campaign aims to counter-radicalization and dissuade young Muslims from joining ISIS.
International efforts have stepped up seeking to track down the key figures behind the estimated 100,000 tweets a day pumped out from 45,000 to 50,000 accounts linked to the Islamist terror group, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria.
A new type of battleground
However, the group continues to run a sophisticated propaganda campaign posting high-quality videos “mirroring Hollywood previews” to YouTube, or using trending hashtags coupled with gruesome slaughters shared via Twitter. This is a new type of battle and the group’s virtual territorial expansion continues today.
“Unlike al-Qaida, which saw itself as a revolutionary vanguard and focused its propaganda efforts on like-minded Islamist militants, ISIS is a mass movement led by a new generation of Islamist revolutionaries who have developed a much broader propaganda effort,” said James Phillips, The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs, The Daily Signal reported.
Social media revenge
But some, such as Max Abrahms, feel the group’s social media success has been “overstated”. The political science professor at Northeastern University specializing in insurgency and terrorism, shed a light on some of the drawbacks generated by the social media machine.
“What the social media alarmists ignore is that social media can increase not just the recruitment rate, but also the attrition rate,” Abrahms said. “Not only are many Islamic State terrorists caught or killed via social media, but the propaganda can motivate governments into adopting a more robust counterterrorism response.”
Recent evidence is the single selfie posted by a member of ISIS, which cost the terror organization, a headquarters building in Syria. Three young women from the Russian republic of Chechnya even managed to con ISIS of funds amounting to a few thousand dollars during online attempts by fighters to acquire foreign brides.
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