How ISIS Uses Twitter For Islamic Radicalization And Propaganda

ISIS activists and sympathizers are active on a variety of platforms—open forums, private messaging apps, and the dark web—but Twitter is by far the platform of choice. The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism has been monitoring over 300 identified American supporters of ISIS on Twitter, including some individuals now in Syria and Iraq. This informative infographic presents new research & analysis on how ISIS uses Twitter (and other Social Networks) to radicalize Westerners and spread extremist propaganda. This research is useful in helping us identify and report ISIS social media accounts.

ISIS social media accounts can be divided into three categories: Nodes, Amplifiers, and Shout-Outs.

NODE ACCOUNTS are the leading voices in the ISIS ‘Twittersphere’. They enjoy a prominent status and are the primary content creators for the network. A group of two or three clustered users will often swap comedic memes, news articles, and official ISIS tweets, allowing them to pool followers and more easily spread content both to new audiences and throughout their network.

AMPLIFIER ACCOUNTS largely do not generate new content but rather retweet and “favorite” material from popular users. Ultimately, because they post little, if any, original content, it is often unclear whether these accounts correspond to real-life ISIS sympathizers or are programmed to post automatically.

SHOUT-OUT ACCOUNTS primarily introduce new, pro-ISIS accounts to the community and promote newly created accounts of previously suspended users, allowing them to quickly regain their pre-suspension status. A unique innovation of the online ISIS scene, they tend to have the largest followings in the Twitter landscape and play a pivotal role in the community’s resilience, despite frequent account suspensions.

READ THE FULL REPORT: ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa (PDF)

Source: The Program on Extremism – George Washington University

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