ISIS, the Islamic extremist group pushing to take Baghdad, has launched a sophisticated social media campaign to reach the masses. Run like a successful business operation, the efforts include everything from books to a feature-length film.
The jihadist organization, founded in Iraq in 2003, has invaded Twitter to post updates and graphic photos of the violence at the hands of their militants. There is no exact number of Twitter accounts the group runs, but many of them have tens of thousands of followers. And with the launch of a Twitter app, called “The Dawn of Glad Tidings,”–“Dawn” for short–users are able to keep up on the latest news about the group.
ISIS has also released professional videos in English to recruit the region’s young population as well as Westerners. For greater exposure, the organization hijacked hashtags during the World Cup to promote the jihadist message. Beyond Twitter and YouTube, ISIS has used Facebook as a retail market where supporters can purchase ISIS gear, including t-shirts and hoodies. The Iraqi government has blocked access to the sites, and Twitter and Facebook are trying to block accounts that violate their policy on violence, but more accounts keep surfacing.
As the war on the ground continues, so does the war on the Web.
Twitter responded Thursday evening and said they have taken down “The Dawn of Glad Tidings.”