Jihadist approaches to social media

The director of the FBI was at a security conference this week and discussed Isil’s use of social media.

“Isil’s MO is to broadcast on Twitter, get people to follow them, then move them to Twitter direct messaging” to evaluate if they are a legitimate recruit, he said, according to The Aspen Times. “Then they’ll move them to an encrypted mobile-messaging app so they go dark to us.”

He contrasted it with al-Qaeda, which required much more of an effort on behalf of a would-be Jihadist to seek them out online. Emails may or may not be answered. (In the trial of Abid Naseer it was notable that many of his emails to a handler in Pakistan went unanswered, for example, much to his frustration.)

It all shows the difference in approach between AQ and Isil. While one saw itself as a core cabal of revolutionaries whose task was to wake the ummah, the other is a mass movement open to all. While one vetted would-be recruits for strength of mind and devotion, the other is open to the lonely and lost. While one is elitist, the other is populist.

And it seems AQ has lost out not only because of drone strikes over Pakistan and its failure to react rapidly to the Arab Spring, it has also failed to react to the growth of social media.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s