The Islamic State terror organisation is known for its use of social media accounts. Though Twitter stated that the it found around 70,00 pro-ISIS accounts, 46,000 are deemed as the “most conservative” estimate.
The report comes after the FBI issued a warning about American teens being susceptible to ISIS recruitment tactics, having ISIS Twitter Census finding that one if five accounts are in English and the rest, representing 75%, are in Arabic.
The report states that “a minimum” of 1,000 accounts were closed between September and December 2014, while Twitter closed about 2,000 accounts this week alone. Following the social media giant’s action, ISIS issued a threat against Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder.
“The process of suspension does create certain new risks. Most importantly, while suspensions appear to have created obstacles to supporters joining ISIS’s social network, they also isolate ISIS supporters online. This could increase the speed and intensity of radicalization for those who do manage to enter the network, and hinder organic social pressures that could lead to deradicalization.”
The group’s social media presence has even gained the attention of new Pentagon Chief, Ashton Carter, stating that ISIS “is a social-media-fueled terrorism group in a way we haven’t seen yet.”
“People who are very distant from any battlefield, from any experience of radicalism, are suddenly becoming enticed through social media,” said Carter.
The report found that Android is the most common platform for mobile tweeting, while iOS comes in second and Blackberry in third place.
“Among users of the three most popular phone types, 69 percent had downloaded a Twitter client from the Google Play store or Google.com,” the report said. “Another 30 percent used a client downloaded from the Apple iTunes store, and about 1 percent had downloaded a client from Blackberry.com.”
It is said that the ISIS Twitter numbers are only a fraction of the 288 million Twitter claims are active on the website. The report states that 4% of the accounts had between 5,000 and 50,000 followers. However, since the pro-ISIS accounts started to appear last year, they are likely to reach millions of people worldwide due to the fact that between 500 and 2,000 ISIS account holders tweet in high volume and their messages are likely to go viral.
“This activity, more than any other, drives the success of ISIS’s efforts to promulgate its message on social media,” the report said. “Short, prolonged bursts of activity cause hashtags to trend, resulting in third-party aggregation and insertion of tweeted content into search results.”
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