An ISIS militant, apparently obsessed with social media, recently sent 45 tweet, unaware that the location function was turned on, meaning that he tweeted his exact coordinates to the world 45 times. Oops.
Referred to as a “Bumbling Jihadist” by TVNZ, New Zealand man Mark Taylor — who also goes by Mohammad Daniel or Abu Abdul Rahman — somehow took up the cause of radical Islam around 2009 and went to Afghanistan to fight alongside al-Qaeda, before ultimately winding up in Syria to fight alongside ISIS.
However, in a rather colossal example of failure to think things through, the ISIS fighter, apparently obsessed with making a name for himself on social media, posted at least 45 tweets without turning off Twitter’s location function. Those tweets have since been deleted, and Mr. Taylor’s account suspended, but intelligence blog iBrabo took screenshots of the location tweets and posted them on their blog for all eternity.
As for the content of the deleted tweets revealing his location, it looks like the Kiwi ISIS jihadist’s tweets range from politically-charged thoughts about New Zealand’s treatment of Muslims…
“There’s no such thing as human rights under a NZ Suppression Act, when your [sic] a true practicing Muslim.”
…to friendly barbs to his friends back home…
“I’m still in Syria. I still got access to the net. Patrick Gower eat your heart out.”
…to a rather oblique acknowledgement that he’d been figured out.
“To the NZsis thank you for harassing me and allowing sensitive information to be released to other foreign governments.”
As of this post, it is not clear if the intelligence gathered by Taylor’s tweeting of his locations has led to any captures or kills of other ISIS militants. But iBrabo writer Jeff Weyers believes it’s only a matter of time.
“His statements and twitter missteps have solidified his involvement with ISIS and will provide the evidence should he ever try to return to New Zealand. His ignorance and the ignorance of others has been an advantage to intelligence agencies around the world looking to protect their nations and track the progress of ISIS.”
iBrabo also points out that other foreign ISIS militants — including fighters from Canada and France — have also made the similar mistake of posting their coordinates thanks to location tracking on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Future ISIS fighters would do well to read the manual of their new mobile devices, and turning off location tracking before posting on social media.