Wall Street Journal: Keep ISIS Off Twitter. “For all its faults, Twitter has managed in recent years to keep ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups off its platform. But jihadists still want to tweet and won’t stop trying to sneak back onto Twitter. As Elon Musk restores many accounts that had been shut down, he should make sure he doesn’t give back access to jihadists who would kill and maim innocent people the in name of militant fundamentalist Islam.”
SCOTUS Blog: In lawsuit against Google involving ISIS recruitment videos, a chance for the court to take up Section 230. “This week we highlight cert petitions that ask the Supreme Court to consider, among other things, whether federal law protects Internet platforms when their algorithms target users and recommend content, in a case alleging that Google aided ISIS’s recruitment through YouTube videos.”
Task & Purpose: ‘ISIS Files’ launch: Thousands of documents reveal the terror group’s inner workings. “The New York Times and GWU announced a partnership in 2018 to digitize, translate, and analyze more than 15,000 pages of internal ISIS documents. Now, those documents are beginning to appear on the ISIS files website, which is based around themes such as ideology, war spoils, agriculture programs, and religious police files.”
University of Maine: Sporer finds ISIL supporters promote justifications of terrorist group’s violence on Twitter. “Sympathizers of the Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL) use Twitter to promote justifications of mass casualty violence perpetrated against civilians by the terrorist group, according to a new study led by Karyn Sporer, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maine.”
Voice of America News: IS’s Virtual Caliphate Struggles to Regain Footing on Social Media. “Islamic State media operatives appear to be flailing about in cyberspace, still trying to recover more than a week after tens of thousands of their messaging accounts were targeted by European officials. Unlike some past efforts to hamper the terror group’s propaganda efforts, which dealt only temporary setbacks, the latest takedown seems to be having a lasting impact, counterterrorism officials and analysts say.”
Seattle Times: Facebook still auto-generating Islamic State, al-Qaida pages. “In the face of criticism that Facebook is not doing enough to combat extremist messaging, the company likes to say that its automated systems remove the vast majority of prohibited content glorifying the Islamic State group and al-Qaida before it’s reported. But a whistleblower’s complaint shows that Facebook itself has inadvertently provided the two extremist groups with a networking and recruitment tool by producing dozens of pages in their names.”
The National: ISIS is using new social media sites after Facebook and Twitter crackdown. “Since December, ISIS has been turning to the ‘decentralised web’ to find new sites after a crackdown by Facebook, Twitter and Telegram. It had been dominant on Telegram until the platform deleted thousands of its accounts. Now, research reveals the group has been turning to platforms like RocketChat and ZeroNet.”
Georgia State University: Grant Will Fund Terror Research on ISIS Propaganda. “The Department of Defense is funding a new grant to expand research on the inner workings of Jihadi Terrorist groups and analyze their encrypted propaganda. The original project, Documenting the Virtual Caliphate (DVC), collected and archived thousands of pieces of ISIS propaganda, images, memes, and breaking news. Dr. Mia Bloom, Professor of Communication at Georgia State University, will head up the new study entitled: The Jihadi Archive-A Database of Terrorist Tactics and Techniques.”
Small Wars Journal: Primer: Terrorist Usage Of Twitter And Social Media. “Terrorist organizations are becoming increasingly aware of, and taking advantage of, the global access the Internet and social media gives them. These groups are no longer limited to recruiting new members in their physical sphere of influence; they can entice and recruit new members from anywhere around the world. Groups are also using the Internet to encourage and carry out attacks (physical and cyber) around the world. This paper will focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), their use of the Internet and social media over the years, and what we should expect moving forward.” Brief but information-dense.
BuzzFeed News: Now Academics Studying ISIS Are Feeling The Heat Of An Internet Crackdown. “On March 22, 2016, as ISIS-built bombs ripped through Brussels Airport and a key metro station serving the offices of the European Union, killing more than 30 people, Pieter Van Ostaeyen, one of Belgium’s most experienced analysts of international terrorist groups, saw the news and immediately began tweeting insights and retweeting information as he arrived at work. After pausing to call his family to make sure everyone was safe, Van Ostaeyen then tried to tweet a warning that the emergency had limited phone service across Belgium. That’s when he realized that his account, widely considered one of the most insightful sources of information about Belgium and ISIS, had been suspended. He’d been accused by Twitter of pushing terrorist propaganda and had his account frozen.”
Journal Of Strategic Security: Engaging English Speaking Facebook Users in an Anti-ISIS Awareness Campaign. “This article reports on The International Center for Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE’s) small-scale Facebook ad awareness campaigns ran between December 7, 2017 and December 31, 2017 in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia. Two ICSVE-produced videos were used, namely The Promises of ad-Dawlah to Women, featuring the testimony of a Belgian female ISIS defector, and Today is the Female Slave Market in ad-Dawlah, featuring a Syrian male ISIS defector who witnessed the sexual enslavement of women by ISIS. The purpose of the campaign was to reach as many English-speaking individuals in U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia to drive engagement with the ICSVE-produced videos as well raise awareness about the dangers of joining or considering joining a violent extremist group like ISIS. “
The Telegraph: Government develops artificial intelligence program to stop online extremism. “The £600,000 software can automatically detect Isil propaganda and stop it from going online, and ministers claim the new tool can detect 94 per cent of Isil propaganda with 99.9 per cent accuracy.” For the purposes of this article, Isil = ISIS, as far as I can tell.
New Arab: The Taliban’s massive social media presence that’s being ignored. “The National Security Agency is launching cyber attacks designed by the same hackers who built Stuxnet, while the US Air Force is bombing militants who forget to switch off geolocation on their phones. Few would argue that Americans have failed to acknowledge and meet the apparent online threat presented by IS. By comparison however, the Taliban has fought American soldiers for well over a decade and used the Internet for even longer – yet it has encountered no such similar response.”
3D Printing Industry: Dubai Combats Isis Destruction With 3D Printed Artefact Reconstructions At UN HQ. “When the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) wreaked havoc across regions of Syria and Iraq, they also destroyed countless Assyrian, Greek and Roman artefacts in museums and on site. In an effort to preserve the cultural heritage and archaeological sites of the region, institutes such as the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) are 3D printing some of the destroyed objects. Some of the foundation’s work is to be displayed at the ‘The Spirit in the Stone’ digital archaeology exhibition at the UN New York headquarters, inaugurated this week.”
Phys.org: Research finds social media disruption impacting on Islamic State propaganda. “Researchers from the VOX-Pol project at Dublin City University, together with colleagues from the University of Sussex, have found that the social media platform, Twitter is becoming less effective for the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS), due to the rapid take-down rate of pro-IS accounts from the site. It found that IS accounts faced ‘substantial and aggressive disruption’. However, the researchers warn that as the predominant focus for disruption is IS, it has enabled a wide range of other disparate violent Jihadi groups to maintain a strong social media presence.