Pro-Daesh jihadist propaganda. A study of social media and video games
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Akademia Obrony Narodowej
Online publication date: 2017-03-21
Publication date: 2017-03-30
Security and Defence Quarterly 2017;14(1):69-90
The fight that Europe and the West must wage against jihadist terrorism will take some time, but if we live up to our values of integration and democracy, we will come out of it soon. As Giovanni Falcone, the Italian judge killed by the Mafia, once said about the Mafia: “It is a human phenomenon, and as all human phenomena has a start and an evolution, it will have also an end”. Jihadis have been using Twitter at least since 2010, with the Shabaab joining the site in December 2011, but never before to this extent. One early adapter of Twitter, the Afghan Taliban, began to establish their social media presence in December 2010, through which they issued brief bulletins about their actions and alerts for forthcoming communiqués. Many of the most prominent jihadi groups have followed the same path, including the Shabaab al-Mujahideen, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The content of these Twitter accounts has tended to closely mirror material released to jihadi forums. For example, the Afghan Taliban may post the text of a communiqué to their website, to a jihadi forum, and to the Twitter account of one of their spokesmen. Mirroring jihadi groups, elements of the online jihadi community have also migrated to social media sites, with prominent forums such as Shumukh al-Islam and Ansar al- Mujahideen English Forum creating Twitter accounts to publicise notable releases and discussions. Concurrently, many individual jihadis and jihadi supporters have joined Twitter, enthusiastically circulating propaganda among themselves and promoting it to potential recruits. Yet, the benefits conferred by social networking come with a substantial cost: social networking platforms can sow great confusion if known official accounts are deleted and re-established or if there are multiple accounts claiming to represent a specific jihadi group. In order to reach the new official accounts, followers must be able to distinguish the legitimate social media accounts of jihadi groups from non-authenticated users, which is a level of ambiguity that is not found on jihadi forums.
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