Noah J Nelson on Tuesday, Jun. 17th
Propaganda as a battle tactic is nothing new, but the current battle for Iraq has turned Twitter into the frontline.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Sunni militant group that seized Iraq’s second-largest city last week and is now pledging to take Baghdad, has honed this new technique—most recently posting photos on Twitter of an alleged mass killing of Iraqi soldiers. But what’s often overlooked in press coverage is that ISIS doesn’t just have strong, organic support online. It also employs social-media strategies that inflate and control its message. Extremists of all stripes are increasingly using social media to recruit, radicalize and raise funds, and ISIS is one of the most adept practitioners of this approach.
In a twist on tools like Thunderclap, the militant group has their own Twitter app that posts on a users account on their behalf. At The Atlantic J.M. Berger goes in-depth on how ISIS is using apps, trending topics, and other social media tactics in order to organize their supporters and intimidate their targets.