THE BLOG

Social Networking Sites Facilitate a Platform for ISIS

20/08/2014 17:05 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 10:59 BST

The "Islamic State" was established in Iraq after armed-men took control of Iraq's second largest city, Mosul. They operate under several names, but the latest name this group operates under is "Islamic State". You can read a brief introduction to this notorious group here and the fall of Mosul here.

In a matter of seconds, the Islamic State's social media accounts managed to not only make headlines but ensure that every social networking platform was discussing their latest act of terror.

James Foley, an American journalist who went missing in Syria more than a year ago, was executed by the Islamic State.

The video of James Foley went viral. The majority of people were outraged, angered, and felt hopeless in the face of a growing international threat. The Islamic State simply issue a statement, and it reaches every news outlet. Their fear-instilling tactics and threats are gaining momentum because people are eagerly propagating, sharing, tweeting and Facebooking their message.

IS has sympathisers globally, distributing their twisted ideology without challenge - the pamphlets of which you can find among a fringe of extremist groups in United Kingdom publicly distributed in Oxford street.

However, IS does not just rely on its sympathisers for propagating its message, but rather an increased number of people on Twitter and other social networking sites are competing with each other on a daily basis to provide the "latest breaking news" for the sake of keeping their followers. Consequently, they propagate IS fear tactics unintentionally.

The bitter truth is that we have reached a stage with IS members that gives few options. An extremist group that rejects all faiths apart from the ideology they follow, and are adamant to establish a terror state where women will be reduced to four walls, hidden from public life, where minorities are killed off unless they convert or pay tax. The problem is, even if they are left to establish their terror state, they want to expand further and recruit more extremists to join their unjustifiable ideological ambitions under the banner of their version of Islam.

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of accounts on Twitter that promote and justify killings of civilians in Iraq, as well as Kurdistan. Some of the accounts tweet in Arabic, but have a English disclaimer that says, "Not IS". Other accounts are promoting IS ideological beliefs and urging others to join IS.

I think social networking sites are responsible for ensuring that people do not promote violence or recruit for terror organisations. As a result, reporting accounts should be made easier, particularly when the accounts call on other people to take part in violent groups.