Who would have ever thought that social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, could be used for spreading the word of ISIS and inciting hatred? Even hiring is done on such platforms. Of course, in a coded way!
Various reports published in the Indian and foreign media have highlighted the growing influence Facebook and Twitter are having in advancing ISIS’ cause, either through covert recruitment, or by way of spreading the twisted essence of Islam.
India is affected, too. Afsha Jabeen, the 37-year-old ISIS recruiter, became the first Indian to covertly recruit potential terrorists for the dreaded outfit through Facebook and other social media platforms. She is also charged with spreading the word of hatred against all things non-Muslim. She hails from Hyderabad and had been masquerading as a British citizen while luring unsuspecting future killers. UAE deported her and she was arrested immediately after landing on Indian soil.
Salman Mohiuddin, also from Hyderabad, exploited the various arms of social media to lure people. He was arrested in January while he was preparing to board a flight to Dubai en-route to Syria. The Government cannot ban Facebook, Twitter and the likes, but it can surely put in place checks and balances, impose greater scrutiny.
This proves social media is also a weapon, a potent one. It can facilitate the creation of an army, propagate hatred, and destroy minds forever.
ISIS is reaching any and everywhere through the internet, especially social media. It has extended its tentacles beyond geographical battlefields, and is spreading brutality.
ISIS has stunned all and sundry, proving expert at misusing social media. They run a sophisticated propaganda campaign to run its gruesome broadcasts of beheading and torture. From high-quality videos edited professionally, to posting beheading on YouTube, they say they have only just begun.
This is a new kind of battle that requires no weapons! Western news reports say that unlike al-Qaida, ISIS is a mass movement led by a new-age generation of Islamist revolutionaries who have developed a much broader propaganda effort. They take pleasure is broadcasting killings of foreign captives through a range of digital platforms, appealing to young Muslims, who in turn embrace ISIS’ radical Islamist ideology.
The four young Australians are the recent examples of ISIS’s recruitment strategy. After telling their family that they were travelling to Thailand, all four sent text messages to their mother in Sydney, “we made it to Bailad al-sham (Syria), and we will see you in paradise.” More than 15,000 foreigners from over 80 countries are estimated to have actively joined ISIS’s fight for a Caliphate.
The social media has amplified the activities of ISIS and has played a pivotal role in the making of the ‘brand’ name – ISIS. Their online propaganda campaign effectively targets disenfranchised westerners. It lures them into a false sense of purpose of Islam. Recently, a 15 year old Danish girl savagely killed her mother with knife after being inspired by the ISIS beheading videos.
ISIS certainly has taken its war to social media, and their strategy has some bite too. But on the other side, thousands of ISIS social media accounts have been shut down in recent months. Followers of ISIS accounts often overlap. The challenge for us is to strike the balance between our conscience and the dangers and the violence of the organisation. We need a counter-attack to stop the activities .The war of ideas needs to be destroyed and the flow of new recruits into the organisations must come to an end.