ISIS Threats To Twitter Personnel Appear Online As Internet Propaganda War Rages

The global social networking site Twitter is reportedly working closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate terrorist threats that seem to have been made against the organisation and its co-founder, Jack Dorsey. Appearing to relate to Twitter’s actions to suppress the activity of ISIS on its network, the threats were posted to an anonymous website, and were initially reported by Buzzfeed.

The authorship of the post is unclear, and so investigations are underway to determine the “veracity” of the threat. However, it clearly references the blocking of ISIS-related Twitter accounts as motivation for what is characterised as a “real war” on the social network, as reported by The Guardian.

“You started this failed war…We told you from the beginning its not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back.”

Sites such as Twitter and YouTube have increasingly found themselves on the frontline in the propaganda war that ISIS is attempting to wage online. The group is known to use complex social media strategies to recruit members and disseminate information – including gruesome footage and calls to action. However, social networks have cultivated constructive relationships with law enforcement agencies, including the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) of the U.K, to develop methods designed to shut down the online efforts of ISIS proactively. In conjunction with such networks, CTIRU ensured the removal of over 45,000 pieces of terrorist material from the internet in 2013, as reported by The Guardian in September 2014.

Sputnik News reports that up to 18,000 ISIS-related Twitter accounts have been recently suspended as part of an online counter-attack, with efforts now reaching the point where back-up and replacement Twitter accounts are being removed within minutes of their creation. This ongoing battle in the digital realm has seen the often abrasive relationship between Twitter and the U.S. government become sometimes cooperative, with the latter having reportedly requested information on up to 1,918 Twitter accounts that were allegedly affiliated with ISIS in some way over a six month period in 2014, according to Geopolitical Monitor.

The removal of Twitter accounts that are suspected of being associated with ISIS is noted to be action taken in line with the company’s own Terms of Service, however.

“Impersonation: You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse or deceive others.

“Violence and threats: You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others…including threats against a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age or disability.

“Unlawful use: You may not use our service for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities. International users agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content.”

As the online propaganda war rages on, the investigation into whether these recent threats against Twitter personnel did originate from ISIS also continues.

[Image: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images]