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July 23, 2014 0

ISIS Faces Resistance From Social Media Companies

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has gar­nered atten­tion for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media. While the ter­ror­ist group has built on tech­niques pio­neered by other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions to spread its mes­sages and recruit fol­low­ers, social media com­pa­nies are increas­ingly shut­ting down ISIS accounts and frus­trat­ing its pro­pa­ganda dis­tri­b­u­tion mechanisms.

On July 12, ISIS announced that sev­eral of its main media accounts would be sus­pend­ing their use of Twit­ter in favor of a social media ser­vice called Frien­dica. This came after sev­eral weeks dur­ing which Twit­ter shut down ISIS offi­cial sites and ISIS replaced them with new ones.

Almost imme­di­ately, mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers joined Frien­dica to fol­low the group.

On July 20, the con­tent was deleted from seven of ISIS’s new Frien­dica sites. Every page on the Frien­dica web­site now comes with a ban­ner at the top stat­ing “Islamic State not wel­come on friendica.eu.”

On July 20, ISIS tried again, cre­at­ing accounts on alter­nate social media sites Quit­ter and Dias­pora. Although the Dias­pora accounts remain up, the Quit­ter accounts were shut down on July 23, replaced with a pic­ture pro­mot­ing peace and coex­is­tence (see image), a link to a web­site sell­ing books about Mahatma Gandhi and text in Eng­lish and Ara­bic stat­ing, “When you fight evil with evil – evil wins.”isis-quitter-diaspora-twitter-terrorism

In the past week, Twit­ter also shut down mul­ti­ple accounts rep­re­sent­ing ISIS regional commands.

ISIS has already recre­ated some of its accounts on Twit­ter. Ale3tisam, an offi­cial ISIS media out­let that had unsuc­cess­fully attempted to migrate to Frien­dica and Quit­ter, returned to Twit­ter and cre­ated a new account on July 23.  Sev­eral of the regional groups have done so as well. There also remain mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers with Twit­ter accounts who them­selves reg­u­larly share offi­cial propaganda.

Ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions are resource­ful enough to find new out­lets when their accounts are shut down. ISIS has con­tin­ued to cre­ate and dis­trib­ute media to wide audi­ences through­out the last three weeks. How­ever, there is no doubt that they also lose plat­forms and power, fac­ing greater dif­fi­culty in spread­ing their hate. By respond­ing aggres­sively to ter­ror­ist accounts, social media com­pa­nies have the power to decrease sig­nif­i­cantly the reach of ter­ror­ists’ hate­ful messages.

Indi­vid­u­als can also aid in the process. ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent online.

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July 18, 2014 0

Hackers Strike Pennsylvania Synagogue Website Over Gaza

Update — July 21: A sim­i­lar hack by the Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail tar­geted a con­gre­ga­tion in Hous­ton over the weekend.

Polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ers from the Arab world have once again tar­geted Jew­ish web­sites in the United States. The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group claimed respon­si­bil­ity today for van­dal­iz­ing the web­site of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am Israel in Penn Val­ley, Pennsylvania.moroccan-islamic-union-mail-facebook

The group posted a mes­sage on the defaced syn­a­gogue web­site stat­ing, “end Israeli vio­lence in #Gaza” with an image of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Pales­tin­ian who was killed ear­lier this month in Jerusalem by what appears to be a group of Jew­ish extremists.

As state­ment posted on the Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail Face­book page claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack, describ­ing the syn­a­gogue as “A Zion­ist Assembly.”

Last week, posts threat­en­ing Israel “with major oper­a­tions” and “strong elec­tronic attacks” appeared on the group’s Face­book page after Israel began its mil­i­tary oper­a­tion to stop Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza.

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Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail take credit for hack on Facebook

The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail also claimed on its Face­book page that it is affil­i­ated with the Moroc­can Ghosts, another hacker group respon­si­ble for a series of attacks on Jew­ish web­sites in the United States over the past two years.

The Moroc­can Ghosts re-emerged in recent days with a wave of new attacks on a num­ber of Israeli web­sites, includ­ing the web­site of the Help­ing Hand Coali­tion, an Israeli orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides tes­ti­monies from Holo­caust Sur­vivors (its web­site is hosted in Illi­nois). The Moroc­can Ghosts posted a pro­pa­ganda video for the Qass­sam Brigades, the mil­i­tary wing of Hamas, in Hebrew threat­en­ing Israelis with retaliation.

ADL offers guid­ance to Jew­ish insti­tu­tions regard­ing online and dig­i­tal security.

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July 18, 2014 0

ADL’s Terrorism Update Examines Terror Groups on Social Media

The July edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now available.islamic-state-media-twitter-380

The fea­ture arti­cle explores how the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) uses social media not only to spread its mes­sages and recruit fol­low­ers, includ­ing West­ern­ers, but also to empower its sup­port­ers to do so as well.

The newslet­ter includes a pro­file on Hamas’s social media use, which has been an ongo­ing ele­ment of its strat­egy, even as the group con­tin­ues to tar­get Israelis with rockets.

This edi­tion also includes infor­ma­tion on Hezbollah’s use of What­sApp, a California-based instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice, recent terror-related arrests in Col­orado and Texas, a recent Al Shabaab video call­ing for “lone wolf” attacks, an Amer­i­can sui­cide bomber in Syria, and more.

To sub­scribe to ADL’s Ter­ror­ism Update newslet­ter, click on the below image:

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