Many people are aware of the situation happening the Middle East and the battle occurring between the Islamic State (ISIS) and the United States government. President Obama has ordered several drone strikes recently, killing the leader of the Al-Shabaab and other ISIS members. But the war against the ISIS has taken a bizarre turn and shifted onto the internet.
According to Yahoo News, the United States government has begun using unusual digital tactics to fight back against the ISIS’ terrorist regime. The plan is to discredit the ISIS by exposing their cruelty and brutality with online videos, opening the eyes of the public to the true nature of their organization. The U.S. government has been tirelessly sending out tweets and YouTube videos highlighting the atrocities committed by the ISIS, such as the recent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff whose mother had begged for his release.
But the online strategy is not working quite as well as the U.S. government anticipated. The ISIS is fighting back with some online tricks of their own. Tech-savvy members of the ISIS are retaliating by getting the digital content taken down. The ISIS is exploiting the terms of service of such sites as YouTube and Twitter to categorize the U.S. videos as spam or excessively violent.
U.S. officials admitted that many recent Twitter messages attacking the ISIS were removed shortly after posting. Terrorism analyst and editor of Intelwire, J.M. Berger studied the ISIS’ social media a strategies.
“They’re very organized, very systematic and extremely sophisticated about how they approach social media,” said Berger. “They understand the mechanics of how it works better than most people in this country do.”
One of the YouTube videos posted to expose the ISIS was titled “Welcome to the ‘Islamic State’ land,” and was produced by the State Department office known as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC). The video was barely over one minute, but it depicted horrific events carried out by the ISIS, including executions, whippings, crucifixions, and a suicide bombing of Muslims praying in a mosque. The video wasn’t able to shock its viewers into seeing the truth about the ISIS for long; YouTube took it down within the day it was posted. Officials believe the ISIS flagged the video for violating the term of service that stipulates “Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed.”
The ISIS video has since been re-posted, although possibly not for long.
But the ISIS is not simply fighting back by taking down U.S. social media posts. ISIS members are making posts of their own, according to the Wall Street Journal. The ISIS has formed a sophisticated social-media strategy using high-resolution photos and hashtags to serve their own agenda. While the ISIS’s posts are meant to control their public image, P.J. Crowley, who served as assistant secretary of the state for public affairs during Obama’s first term, has said the strategy might backfire. Many of the images posted by the ISIS are as gruesome in their nature as the videos and photos the U.S. government has been posting to discredit them.
Check back with The Inquisitr for more updates on the ISIS.