Twitter has taken some pretty harsh criticism from FBI Director James Comey. He recently accused Twitter of being the main conduit for Islamic State recruitment and said that the social media site amounted to the “devil on their shoulder” for extremist sympathizers around the world. Wow!
ISIL reaches out, primarily through Twitter, to about 21,000 English-language followers, However, ISIL’s reach extends beyond the territories they control or the places they strike. Through a sophisticated social media network, this armed group is spreading fear by publicising its gruesome crimes, disseminating information about its achievements around the world, raising funds, and reportedly recruiting close to 1,000 new members a month.
With high-quality videos posted to YouTube, smartphone apps, online chatrooms, and Twitter/Facebook accounts sending messages in multiple languages, ISIL has become very good at using new tools in waging their information war.
A Brookings Institution study noted that at least 46.000 Twitter accounts were actively promoting the work and ideology of ISIL between September and December 2014.
The US State Department has repeatedly said that “countermessaging” is essential to defeating ISIL. But President Obama’s administration has acknowledged the armed group is far better at spreading its message than the United States is at countering it.