Reports from the battlefield have come and gone with the changing times. From the runners of ancient Greece to carrier pigeons in World War I, information has been the most valuable asset a military force can acquire. In today’s world, people get war reporting on current engagement
s such as those occurring in Syria and Afghanistan from news networks around the world but how does the enemy get theirs? Some follow the news just like any other person but other avenues have been used to report.
It is true that Isis watches how global powers report on the ongoing civil war in Syria but they have also utilized the internet to their advantage. Using social media platforms, specifically Twitter, the terrorist group has been able to relay valuable information such as intelligence on enemy positions quickly and efficiently. Their abuse of twitter is not limited to pure surveillance as they readily use the platform to recruit followers, perpetuate their message of hate and report on the war in their view.
According to this Brookings Institute census, Isis is using twitter quite a bit among other interesting findings. For instance, there are an estimate 46,000-90,000 Isis supporter accounts accounts with the majority of accounts residing in Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Another number that became a commonality in the census pertained to the number of followers. According to the census, each active account had an average of 1,002 followers and 7.3 tweets per day. A key finding that sheds some light on the identities of Isis supporters pertains to language. The study findings suggest that one in every five Isis supporter accounts chose English as the default language.
“73 percent selected Arabic, 18 percent selected English, and 6 percent selected French…likely reflects ISIS’s target audience in the United States for inciting and harassing propaganda.”
Measures have been implemented to tackle this problem and coalition powers have been working with social media to track down these Isis supporters. Twitter alone suspended more than 2,000 Isis accounts in one week alone in March 2015 just to give perspective on how readily these accounts communicate. Although these moves to combat this problem hasn’t come late, it is almost impossible to stop the spread of news on the internet let alone dealing with a daunting number of Isis supporter accounts. If one avenue of information flow fails, Isis will focus efforts and push their news and message through another platform continuing the endless game of cat and mouse.