Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Freedom of information: Chinese man sues China firm over Google block

September 8, 2014


Paramilitary policemen stand guard on a city square in Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang region on May 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Goh Chai Hin)


BEIJING — A Chinese man threw a rare official spotlight on the country’s Internet controls when he sued a state-owned telecom operator for denying him access to US search engine Google, documents and reports showed Friday.

Authorities in China impose strict limits on the Internet, censoring domestic content and blocking foreign websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube using a system known as the “Great Firewall”.

Google partially withdrew from mainland China in 2010 and moved its servers to Hong Kong after a fallout with Chinese officialdom. Access to its services has been blocked or disrupted since shortly before June’s 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Wang Long, who describes himself as a “law worker”, sued China Unicom over his lack of access to Google at the Futian People’s Court in the southern boom town of Shenzhen, which neighbours Hong Kong.

The hearing took place on Thursday, a document on the city’s official litigation service website showed.

On his account on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo, Wang said that China Unicom’s lawyer hesitated to answer when the judge asked whether Google’s websites can normally be accessed.

Eventually, the advocate said that he was “not sure whether he can tell (the court) or not”, sparking laughter from the gallery, Wang said.

He added that the judge ordered the clerk to record that the websites were not accessible, but it had nothing to do with China Unicom.

Court officials were not available to comment when contacted by Agence France-Presse on Friday.

A ruling is expected to be made before October, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported.

It quoted Wang, 25, as saying that he had a contractual relationship with China Unicom. “They should offer me telecom services, yet they still failed to provide access. They should be held responsible for this failure,” he said.

Wang has also sued China Mobile, another state-owned telecom carrier, and the court agreed last week to hear the case, another document on the Shenzhen website showed, without giving details.

The Global Times, which is close to the ruling Communist Party, quoted what it described as a “Beijing-based expert in cyber security, who requested anonymity” as saying Wang had sued the wrong opponent.

“It is Google that should be blamed, since it does not operate its business in China,” the “expert” was cited as saying. “I call on companies like Google or Twitter or Facebook to offer services in China and accept [proper supervision].”

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In “tasteless tweets” Russian embassy mocks Ukraine with toys

September 6, 2014


WASHINGTON — The death and mayhem in southeast Ukraine is a barrel of laughs for snickering Russian diplomats, who are sending out cheeky tweets mocking the United States and other critics of their country’s invasion of its neighbor.

The latest tweet from the official account of the Russian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates is a photo of assembled plastic tanks and military vehicles.

Russia’s foreign ministry, rather than condemning the snarky gag, re-tweeted it to its 53,000 followers, giving it a seal of Kremlin approval.

The tweet references an array of intelligence indicators that Russia is funding and supporting pro-Russian separatists, and even sending its own troops and weaponry across the border.

US officials condemned the Twitter gag.

“It is hideous and insulting. This is not a laughing matter,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Russia’s invading other countries. Russia’s going after other countries. People are dying, and they’re being cutesie about it.”

The White House decided not to engage on the toy insult.

“The president has spoken a lot over the past few days about our views of Russia’s actions,” said White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. “So I think we’ll keep it at that high level and not get into commenting on specific tweets or why the Russians might have decided to post them.”

NATO has produced satellite images showing columns of Russian equipment heading across the border and estimates at least 1,000 troops are aiding the fight. Britain’s Telegraph first reported on the tasteless tweet.


From The Telegraph

Senior Russian diplomats appear to have resumed their social media war against Nato officials with a new tweet mocking international claims over the Ukraine crisis.

A Russian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) account posted out a picture of toy tanks, joking it was “evidence” of troops operating across the Ukraine border.

It follows a Twitter spat between Canadian and Russian officials working at Nato; clearly they all have a lot of time of their hands.

The latest message was posted by @RussEmbassyUAE, which appears to be the official account of the Russian Embassy in the UAE, and later retweeted by Russia’s foreign ministry.

Democratic Candidate Calls Republican “Worse than ISIS”

September 3, 2014


A man holds up a knife as he rides on the back of a motorcycle touring the streets of Tabqa city with others in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city August 24, 2014. Reuters

Congressional candidate J.T. Smith of Phenix City is upset with the Republicans in Congress — so much that he compared Republicans to the terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the the Levant, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Smith, the Democratic nominee in Alabama’s District 3, made the comparison on Labor Day, taking to Twitter to vent.

JT Smith

JT Smith, Democratic candidate for Congress in Alabama’s Third District

And Smith’s timing will likely get his tweet more attention than it has already garnered on social media, as ISIL-ISIS reportedly beheaded a second American journalist on Tuesday. ISIS militants previously beheaded American journalist James Foley, on Aug. 19.

Smith wrote: “The greatest country on earth is being bullied from within. Actions of Republicans in congress are worse than .” (The tweet is below.)

It wasn’t the first potentially incendiary tweet from Smith, who faces U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, in November.

On Sunday, Smith, an Iraq War veteran, tweeted that the fact that the GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, proves that the Republicans see “seniors, women and children as prey.”

Smith later took to Facebook to explain his Tweet.

“Twitter does not allow for context, but this does,” Smith wrote on Facebook. “I am not saying that the republican party is beheading people in the streets, obviously. Here in America, because we are a civilized democracy, we do not use violence against each other as a means of control. The republicans have used the economy as a means to terrorize the people of this country.”


– The Washington Times – Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Democratic candidate running against Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers shocked Twitter users Monday when he compared Republicans in Congress to Islamic State militants.

J.T. Smith, of Phenix City, is the Democratic nominee to represent Alabama’s District 3, The Birmingham News reported.

“The greatest country on earth is being bullied from within. Actions of Republicans in congress are worse than #ISIL,” he tweeted on Labor Day to more than 3,000 followers.

The tweet was still active as of Tuesday afternoon.

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al Qaeda Joins Islamic State by Publishing a Bomb Making Guide

August 29, 2014

Terrorism: Not to be outdone by Isil, al-Qaeda publishes English-language ‘shopping list’ for making bombs that can be used to attack British and American targets

Manual encourages followers to bomb British targets including Sandhurst, the MI5 headquarters, local Marks and Spencer department stores

A screen from the al Qaeda manual

A screen from the al Qaeda manual

The terrorist group al-Qaeda has published a manual in which it encourages followers to bomb British targets including Sandhurst, the MI5 headquarters and local Marks and Spencer department stores.

The media arm of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) this week published a nine-page how-to guide in its English-language magazine on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the UK and the US.

The publication, called Palestine-Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience Al-Malahem, suggests jihadists target the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Thames House in London and M&S department stores during Friday prayers, so as to avoid harming Muslims.

There is a suggested list of targets for lone-wolf, or individually executed, terror attacks, including New York’s Times Square, casinos and nightclubs in Las Vegas, oil tankers and busy train stations.

It also encourages attacks on places around the world where Britons, Americans and Israelis take holidays.

Included in the article is a timeline of terror attacks, including 9/11 and the Boston bombings that includes a blank entry marked 201?, implying a terror attack on foreign soil is planned for the near future.

The manual goes on to praise the “Boston bomber brothers” Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, praying Allah accept them.

“My Muslim brother: we are conveying to you our military training right into your kitchen to relieve you of the difficulty of travelling to us,” it reads.

“If you are sincere in your intentions to serve the religion of Allāh, then all what you have to do is enter your kitchen and make an explosive device that would damage the enemy if you put your trust in Allah and then use this explosive device properly.”

Steve Stalinsky, whose organisation Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) monitors the online and media activity of Jihadi groups and reported on the release of this publication, said: “Both AQAP and IS, as well as every other al-Qaeda branch and offshoot is relying on US social media companies including Twitter and YouTube for their cyber-Jihad efforts.

“There could be some envy by AQAP that IS is now getting all the headlines,” Mr Stalinsky said.

Experts Expect Employers To Increasing Monitoring of Workers’ Social Media

August 19, 2014
PwC study suggests third of young people would be happy for employer to see social media profiles in return for job security

The Guardian, Sunday 17 August 2014

Worker using a laptop

A worker using a laptop. Photograph: PhotoAlto/Alamy

A third of young people would be happy for their employer to have access to their social media profiles in return for job security, according to a report that claims such personal data monitoring will become more commonplace.

The report, written by consultants from PwC using a survey of 10,000 workers worldwide and 500 human resources (HR) professionals, suggests personal data from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites could be used by employers to understand what motivates their workforce, reasons why people might move jobs and to improve employee wellbeing.

PwC predicts that online monitoring by employers will rise over the next decade. By 2020, people currently aged 18-32 will form half of the global workforce, bringing with them different attitudes to technology and personal data.

The research claims that younger people are more open to sharing their personal data with their employers, with 36% of Generation Y workers saying they would be happy to do so.

John Harding, human resource services partner at PwC in Manchester, said: “Just as advertisers and retailers are using data from customers’ online and social media activity to tailor their shopping experience, organisations could soon start using workers’ personal data (with their permission) to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues.

“This sort of data profiling could also extend to real-time monitoring of employees’ health, with proactive health guidance to help reduce sick leave. Key to the success of organisations being able to use employee data will be developing measurable benefits for those who hand over their data and building trust through clear rules about how data is acquired, used and shared.”

Cary Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said there were obvious pitfalls. “First of all, it is naive to think that if you trade off your privacy rights (eg access to one’s social media) that an employer can ever guarantee job security,” he said.

“Second, I can’t see, if an employer had access to an employee’s social media, how this could possibly lead to greater employee motivation or wellbeing. This seems a plain case of trying to find out what employees are doing and thinking – clearly an intrusion into their private life. I see no HR justification for it whatsoever.”

China continues to tighten control and monitoring of the Internet, social-networking, messaging apps

July 5, 2014


By Jonathan Cheng and Paul Mozur
The Wall Street Journal

Updated July 4, 2014
A number of popular social-networking applications reported Thursday their services were impaired in mainland China, two days after a massive pro-democracy demonstration in neighboring Hong Kong.
Users of mobile messaging applications Line and KakaoTalk in mainland China have been unable to access many of the features on the popular services since Tuesday, in the first major service disruption in the country for the companies.
Yahoo Inc. ‘s Flickr was also inaccessible on Thursday.
Line Corp. and Kakao Corp. said they didn’t know what caused several services available on their platforms to be unavailable to users in China. In an emailed statement, a Yahoo spokeswoman said: “We are aware of reports that Flickr is blocked for users in China and our team is investigating this now.”
The timing of the outage, which began on the evening of July 1 during the pro-democracy march in Hong Kong, could indicate that the Chinese government took steps to limit usage. China’s government often blocks foreign websites and smartphone services during sensitive times, like the recent 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

WSJD is the Journal’s home for tech news, analysis and product reviews.

Officials at China’s State Council Information Office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A Line spokeswoman said she didn’t know when the app would become available again in China. Last month, a Line executive said the Japanese company is planning to expand its presence in China because of the hundreds of millions of potential users in the market.

Sonia Im, a spokeswoman for Kakao Corp., based in Pangyo, South Korea, said that while some features of the messaging platform still worked in China, users there couldn’t add new friends, use certain emoticons or check notices. Ms. Im said the company began receiving user complaints Tuesday evening, but that the stoppage affected the bulk of its Chinese users on Wednesday.

She said the company hoped to restore full functionality to its users as soon as possible, adding that she didn’t know what caused the disruption in service. Kakao has about 140 million registered users, but doesn’t break out its user base by country.

In China, users of Line could see that they had received a message, but couldn’t access the message itself. Mobile-phone users also could download the KakaoTalk app, but couldn’t register.

An application icon for Line’s Internet messaging and calling service. Bloomberg News

While Line isn’t widely used in China, it has proved popular with younger users, many of whom were attracted to the app because of its emoticons, which are called stickers. In Hong Kong, the app is very popular and could have easily been used to share news of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong across the border to China. Line said it has more than 400 million registered users, but doesn’t give a breakdown for China.

On local social media, censorship of references to the Hong Kong protests has been severe, even eclipsing blockages carried out during the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, according to WeiboScope, a service provided by the University of Hong Kong that tracks censorship.

Many of Google Inc.’s services remain completely inaccessible in China since they were fully blocked last month in what analysts have described as an escalation of China’s attempts to control the flow of information over the Internet and put restrictions on foreign companies.

Since rising to power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken steps to tighten government control over the Internet. Under his leadership, the government has created a new high-profile committee to increase cybersecurity, has warned Internet celebrities with large numbers of followers about spreading rumors online, and has instituted a particularly strong antipornography campaign.

Other popular messaging services, such as WhatsApp, which Facebook Inc. recently agreed to buy, and WeChat, the popular service created by Shenzhen, China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd.  , were working. Viber, which Japan’s Rakuten Inc. agreed to acquire earlier this year, is working as usual in China, with no reports of connection problems, said a Rakuten spokeswoman.

—Juro Osawa
contributed to this article.

Write to Jonathan Cheng at and Paul Mozur at


  (From the BBC)

See also The New York Times

An Online Shift in China Muffles an Open Forum

In May, though, the government announced that WeChat would be more heavily monitored. Saying that instant messaging services were being used to spread “violence, terrorism and pornography,” the agency charged with policing the Internet said it would “firmly fight infiltration from hostile forces at home and abroad,” according to a government statement.

In its heyday, Weibo promised much more. It came to prominence in 2011 after a high-speed rail crash killed 40 people. Weibo users detailed the mayhem and government shortcomings that led to the accident, part of a surge of criticism that prompted the resignation of the railway minister. It was a signal moment in the Internet’s coming of age in China, a reminder of how the medium could challenge even a formidable authoritarian government and one of its most powerful leaders.

China’s Internet, Social Media Services Disrupted — “More Like a Black Out”

July 4, 2014



Screenshot of Line's Weibo account on 4 July at 3pm.
Thousands of Chinese users of messaging app Line have taken to the app’s Weibo account to complain
July 4, 2014

From the BBC

Thousands of Chinese users of messaging app Line have taken to the app’s Weibo account to complain

Related Stories

Several popular messaging applications and file-sharing services appear to have been blocked in mainland China this week.

These include mobile messaging apps Line, which is widely used in Asia, and Kakaotalk.

Yahoo’s photo-sharing service Flickr and Microsoft’s file storage service OneDrive have also been affected.

The move appears to have taken place ahead of a major pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

China already blocks popular social media services Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Yahoo told agencies that it was investigating the situation, while Line said on its Weibo account that it was working to fix the problem.

The disruption has affected users of Line in particular. The service has more than 400 million users, mostly in Asia. Thousands of Chinese users have flooded Line’s Weibo account with complaints.

People march on a street during the annual pro-democracy protest on 1 July 2014 in Hong Kong.
Organisers estimate 510,000 protesters took part in Hong Kong’s rally; police put the number much lower

A Line spokesman told Bloomberg that its users in China had not been able to access all services since 1 July, which was the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to the mainland.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong that day in a major pro-democracy protest.

A representative of anti-censorship site told Reuters news agency this was not a technical malfunction, suggesting the services were blocked because they allowed users to share photos.

Checks by BBC Chinese found that Hong Kong and Taiwan Line users appeared to have been unaffected.

In May, some Line users in China complained that the app had started to censor sensitive terms related to the 4 June anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, according to BBC Chinese.

At that time, Line’s spokesman said the China version of the app was being “optimised”.



Call to jihad: ISIS Recruiting is Way Up — “Join us in forming a Sunni-led religious state spanning from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf”

June 26, 2014

An Image from an ISIS recruitment video that purports to show militant fighters from the West. Reuters

BAGHDAD—A Sunni jihadist group that has seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria is parlaying its battlefield successes into a recruitment drive that is attracting more foreign fighters, say Western and Arab officials.

The message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS: Join us in forming a Sunni-led religious state spanning from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.

One recruitment video, released on Friday, shows gun-toting militants, speaking with British and Australian accents, extolling the virtues of jihad and inviting viewers to join their battle in Syria and Iraq.

It isn’t the first time ISIS has tried to recruit Islamists while carefully crafting its image on social media to raise its appeal among jihadists.


But the video, disseminated last week on ISIS’s first non-Arabic Twitter accounts in English, German and Russian, is the group’s first English-language drive for foot soldiers, and reflects its attempt to burnish its jihadist credentials farther afield.

Western and Arab officials say the effort is resonating among recruits due to the group’s success in quickly extending its control over Iraqi territory in the north and west and along the country’s border with Syria.

“The recent developments have raised hopes of jihadists all over the world to establish the state they’ve aspired to create for a long time,” said an Egyptian diplomat. “We worry that more Egyptians are going to Syria and Iraq now, particularly from Sinai.”

Logistically, the fighters are able to join the fight by flying to the south of Turkey, which is one of the region’s few countries not to require a visa from other Muslim countries. From there, they typically slip across the border into Raqqa, in northern Syria, and then can traverse hundreds of miles of ISIS-held territory along western Iraq down to the border with Jordan.

“It’s an open border between Syria and Iraq,” said a senior Obama administration official. “There’s nothing stopping them moving into both fights.”

A doctor in Iraq’s second-biggest city of Mosul, which ISIS fighters overtook earlier in June, said the group’s Islamist ranks now include Europeans and people across the Middle East. He said he sees them shopping in its stores, recalling a blue-eyed, sunburned German militant he met who spoke in broken Arabic.

ISIS has also recruited members through its raids of prisons, releasing hundreds of inmates who it has integrated into its ranks, Iraqi officials say.

The insurgent group’s seizure of $450 million from Mosul’s central bank and caches of weapons seized from Iraqi troops who fled upon their arrival are also drawing rival jihadist groups in Syria to ISIS, Western and Arab officials say. Last week, four commanders from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army joined ISIS, Syrian activists said.

And this week, ISIS touted on ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts a pledge by a senior al Qaeda operatives, Anas Ali al-Nashwan, to join the insurgents in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia issued international arrest warrant in 2011 and sought help from Interpol to arrest the Saudi national, who Riyadh says fought jihad in Afghanistan.


An image from the recruitment video. Reuters

“The third most wanted man [in Saudi Arabia] has arrived on the ground to the Levant and pledged allegiance to the Islamic state,” read a tweet, linking to an image showing Mr. Nashwan with the black ISIS flag in the background.

ISIS split from al Qaeda this year and has battled its arm in Syria, al Nusra Front. ISIS leaders contend that al Qaeda has grown too soft in its approach to religious minorities and too lax on socially taboo behavior such as smoking or listening to music.

For many rival Islamists, ISIS’s draw is its sheer military might—displays of power such as a military parade in Mosul this week—that it displays on YouTube or Twitter. Those social-media tools are essential for ISIS to draw new recruits and funding, and it diligently documents its war gains online to rally supporters, the Western and Arab officials say.

ISIS asks followers on Twitter and Facebook for private donations, but has received the bulk of its funding from extortion rackets and kidnapping, Western officials say.

“For all of those who aren’t joining jihad yet, you can perform jihad with your money. We want to buy 100 grad missiles to shell Qardaha,” a Syrian town held by the government, read a recent tweet by an ISIS supporter Abdullah Mohisine that was retweeted over 900 times, attaching a Turkish phone number to call.

The group’s success in Iraq and Syria has given it newfound confidence, Syrians living in ISIS-held territory say.

In Raqqa city, which officials believe is ISIS’s operational nerve center, foreign fighters from Asia and North Africa are arriving, residents say. The new arrivals are confident ISIS will successfully resurrect an Islamic caliphate, or religious state.

“New foreign fighters are coming in and some of them are bringing their families with them. They occupied all the hotels in Raqqa and they inhabit al-Thukna, the most beautiful neighborhood in the city,” said a Raqqa resident. “ISIS is calling on Raqqa’s people to open their empty houses for the immigrants.”

European governments estimate that at least 1,400 of their citizens are fighting in Syria, most with ISIS, and pose a threat upon their return, more radicalized and with combat and explosives training.

But the true numbers may be higher—one British parliamentarian said this week that as many as 1,500 Britons have fought in Syria, compared to an official estimate of 500.

The recruitment has continued despite new legislation since late last year in places like the U.K., which has stripped at least 20 Britons of their citizenship for fighting in Syria.

One European diplomat said the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are drawing an unprecedented number of jihadists from his country.

“There were a noticeable number of school seats empty after the winter break, kids going off to war. Social workers have not seen this before” with any other Middle Eastern conflict, said a European diplomat. “We’ve also seen an increasing number of European suicide bombers.”

—Mohammed Nour Alakraa in Beirut, Jay Solomon in Washington and Laith al-Haydair in Baghdad contributed to this article.

Write to Maria Abi-Habib at

How ISIS is spreading its message online

June 19, 2014

From the BBC

"Baghdad's big battle" - an image posted on a pro-ISIS Twitter account
“Baghdad’s big battle” – an image posted on a pro-ISIS Twitter account

Alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIS) battlefield successes in northern Iraq, the group has deployed a sophisticated social media strategy that is redefining its propaganda.

Since the offensive began on 9 June, a string of Twitter accounts claiming to represent ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been active in providing live updates on the group’s operations and images illustrating their advances.

Although the accounts have not been officially endorsed by ISIS, they have been widely promoted as official regional ISIS accounts by the group’s many online supporters.

ISIS has launched a social media campaign and is posting (mainly on Twitter) photos and statements to highlight its military strength and territorial advances in Iraq.

On 15 June, it posted images of what appears to be dozens of captured Iraqi security personnel along with threats and messages to surrounding towns warning residents of the group’s approach. The photos included the apparent capture, transport, and ultimate killing of the soldiers.

The material went viral on the internet and was widely shared by ISIS supporters.

Global campaign

According to a web-based data mining software, a large number of pro-ISIS tweets originated in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf countries.

In its Twitter feed, ISIS gives extensive details of its operations, including the number of bombings, suicide missions and assassinations it has carried out, and of checkpoints and towns it controls.

The top Twitter hashtags used by the group include: “#Baghdad_is_liberated” and “#Iraq_is_ liberated”.

Screenshot from an ISIS video posted on YouTube on 17 June, calling for support for the group
Screenshot from an ISIS video posted on YouTube on 17 June, calling for support for the group

In addition to the hashtags, the group produces professional promotional videos and urges support for its “one billion campaign”, which calls on Muslims to post messages, photos and videos on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in support of ISIS.

One video, posted on 17 June, shows an ISIS member speaking in French and asking Muslims to support ISIS’s cause online. Many videos are also posted with English subtitles or translation.

ISIS is launching a global online campaign on 20 June to support the group’s operations in Iraq and Syria. The group is initiating a Twitter hashtag in Arabic which translates to #theFridayofsupportingISIS, asking supporters around the world to wave the ISIS flag in public, film themselves and upload the clips on social media platforms.

In April 2014, the group developed a free internet application called The Dawn of Glad Tidings, which automatically posts tweets – approved by ISIS media managers – to the accounts of the application’s subscribed users.

The posts include hashtags, links, images, videos and other content. Almost 40,000 tweets were posted in a single day during the recent clashes in Iraq.

One post which went viral was of an image of an armed jihadist gazing at the ISIS flag flying over Mosul with the inscription in Arabic: “We are coming, Baghdad”

The application is promoted by some of the organisation’s leading figures.

Spreading fear

ISIS is following a well-planned strategy and the group is selective with what is posted.

This cartoon was posted on the @ISIS_Media_Hub Twitter account
This cartoon was posted on the @ISIS_Media_Hub Twitter account

It chooses photos that have the potential of having a strong impact, presumably to create fear among its enemies and win the admiration of other radical groups.

Unlike other jihadist groups, such as the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria the Nusra Front, ISIS gives little consideration to the way it is perceived by the general public.

It rarely posts photos about its charity work or the services it provides in the towns it controls.

The Nusra Front, on the other hand, regularly posts statements and videos, showing the group’s social services, including the distribution of food to the poor and traffic management.

The Nusra Front’s approach has helped the group gain support at the grassroots level in Syria.


In an attempt to limit the impact of ISIS’s social media campaign, the Iraqi government has blocked Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Users in the country attempting to visit these sites are greeted by a message saying that the Ministry of Communications has barred access.

ISIS supporters strongly protested against the closure of social media platforms, blaming Twitter’s administrators for the unprecedented attack on the group’s presence on the micro-blogging site.

This is not the first time that Twitter has taken such a step. In February 2014, Twitter suspended the account of an ISIS member who tweeted images of an amputation.

However, blocking ISIS’s access to social media sites may not have a significant impact on the group’s publicity activities.

This is because it attracts followers from across the Arab and Muslim worlds, so countermeasures taken in Iraq may not have only a limited effect.

It is important to highlight that the group’s online presence does not necessarily equate to its popularity.

The fact that ISIS is using internet and social media applications to promote its message may indicate that it does not have strong organic support.

Regardless of this, the way ISIS is running its social media campaign could be a sign of a shift in approach from being an insular group to actively reaching out to the world.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

ISIS and Other Jihadists Groups Recruit from The U.S., Britain, France, Germany (and everywhere else) for Fighting in Iraq, Syria

June 19, 2014
  • Extremists in Syria and Iraq targeting new generation of young American jihadists
  • The FBI are investigating up to 15 Somali-American men believed to have traveled from Minneapolis-St Paul, MN to follow the ISIS call to jihad
  • As many as 50 American jihadists believed to be fighting in the Middle East
  • ‘Outgoing party-lover’ from Minneapolis and father of nine Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, confirmed among them
  • Security experts blame social media for ‘blurring lines’ and encouraging people to see themselves as part of jihadist movement 

By Laura Collins


AK-47 aloft, his right hand raised and pointing to the sky, Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, stands on a Syrian hillside and stares defiantly into the camera.

Six months ago the father of nine from Minnesota was shooting hoops in Uptown Minneapolis. He was neither overtly religious nor politically vocal.

Today he is one of as many as 15 young Somali -Americans from the Twin Cities currently under investigation by the FBI for having travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He is one of the latest wave of radicalized young Americans, targeted by ISIS terrorists promoting a chilling phenomenon that security experts have dubbed, ‘Jihad Cool.’

Rap videos, romanticized notions of revolution and adventure and first-hand accounts of the ‘fun’ of guerrilla war are the latest tactics used by militant recruiters as part of what experts have identified as an, ‘intensification of radicalization,’ both in the States and beyond.



In testimonies, many posted on YouTube, leaders, recruiters and seasoned fighters deliver their potent message and, according to recent security research, such online activity is a powerful tool that increasingly, ‘prods an individual towards violence.’

Minnesota militant: Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, the family man turned jihadist in a picture posted by him on Facebook and tweeted by journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim with whom he recently communicated. Now believed to be in Syria Muhumed told Mr Ibrahim that he is 'happy' to be considered a terrorist

Minnesota militant: Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, the family man turned jihadist in a picture posted by him on Facebook and tweeted by journalist Mukhtar Ibrahim with whom he recently communicated. Now believed to be in Syria Muhumed told Mr Ibrahim that he is ‘happy’ to be considered a terrorist

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'Jihad Cool': Outgoing and partyloving according to his friends, Abdirahmaan Muhumed appeared the polar opposite of a radicalized jihadist. Yet he left for Syria earlier this year and has now proclaimed his fight for the Islamic Empire or Caliphate


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