Forty-nine innocent people slaughtered in Orlando, FL. Slaughtered at the hand of a radical ideology that has expanded its reach far beyond the regional borders in which it physically wages war. Expanded not by use of conventional tactics, but through a new-world tactic, using a new-world weapon – social media.
The Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical jihadist groups are searching the globe for sympathizers, reaching into the homes of the most vulnerable in society, to wreak havoc on every corner of the Earth with the twisted ideology it peddles.
ISIS has become adept at using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets as recruitment tools to expand its reach – even using services such as WhatsApp and Telegram “to sell abducted, severely abused girls and women as sex slaves.”
It is beyond vile.
Reports estimate that nearly 76,000 ISIS-sympathetic Twitter accounts were found and terminated in 2015 – up from 46,000 in 2014. Then last week, Twitter reported that it suspended yet another 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism. And though Twitter and Facebook have upped their efforts to put an end to terror-related accounts, ISIS’s influence digitally is still on the rise.
So it begs the question, what are the United States government and intelligence communities doing to combat this threat?
In December of 2013 the U.S. State Department launched the “Think Again Turn Away” campaign, which was designed “as part of an effort to enter the war of ideas and win over hearts and minds of jihadists on social media.”
After the effort quickly ended in embarrassing failure, the State Department concluded that the United States government should not be “so overtly engaged in information operations against ISIS.”
Why did the effort end so quickly in failure? Our government failed to fully grasp ISIS’s mode for accomplishing its mission.
The Islamic State has created a global online community – the key word being “community” – of individuals who are dedicated enough to die for its cause.
A national security expert at the American Enterprise Institute noted, “The way that the [U.S.] government has handled this so far has been to kind of send out a couple snarky tweets and they think that’s sufficient.”
It’s not sufficient.
The Islamic State has reached out, engaged, and influenced so effectively that it has ended countless lives without its jihadist army ever having stepped out of the region it originated.
Now is the time for action. Now is the time to name our enemy. Now is the time to meet this radical ideology on the digital battlefield and win back the hearts and minds of those who would do ISIS’s bidding.
Help the ACLJ create an online community of strength that works to finally put an end to the violent jihadist threat that has ended far too many innocent lives. Please sign our petition and then take to your social feeds to spread the word and join our effort to defeat and destroy ISIS.
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