AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Jihad’s Social Media Campaign

Posted by sarahkana10 on August 4, 2014

As communicators we tend to really only focus and speak on the good of social media.  Even from political perspectives, social media has had a huge impact on the way people communicate, and in a real way, it has freed many, especially those in struggling and less developed countries, where government regimes are corrupt or disliked.

The Arab Spring for example really was so successful thanks to social media.  Twitter and Facebook allowed for  collective activism to circumvent state-operated media channels.  In the case of the Arab spring most people agree that what transpired over social media and in turn led to forcing unpopular leaders out of power, was for the good of the people where the uprisings occurred, and perhaps the global community at large as well.

But recently, the ease at which social media allows people to connect and join together has been used by the Islamic State to ramp up gruesome Internet campaigns.

“There has been a total increase, especially on Twitter. It is out there big time,” said Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“The Sunni Muslim extremist group formerly known as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook and video upload sites like YouTube and LiveLeak.com to strike fear across the Middle East as it wages its brutal campaign to create a caliphate that extends from northern Africa to Iraq.”

In its most recent video, Islamic State fighters are shown executing dozens of men according to a description posted on Twitter. “The five-minute clip, culled from a longer propaganda video, shows the militants packing their victims into a caravan of trucks and transporting them to a field, where they force the men to lie face-down on the ground as a militia member shoots them one-by-one, execution style, with an AK-47.”

This video and thousands of other terrorist propaganda posts are freely uploaded to the Internet, promoting the causes and messages of these groups- for really anyone (who searches for them) to see. On one had of the debate, it is freedom of speech, but on the other, these groups are often torturing and killing people and plotting to harm more. Should social media platforms work to make posts like these banned or illegal, or should social media be a true reflection of the world we live in?

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