Twitter wars: How the US is fighting Islamic State propaganda through internet memes

“Wherever ISIS lands, destruction and ruin will follow.” Those are the words that precede the image in this State Department tweet.

The Islamic State group’s widespread use of social media to recruit fighters is well publicised, and this week prompted a Sydney Muslim community leader to call for Australia to immediately launch a social media campaign to halt the grooming of jihadists. But what might such a campaign look like?

The US State Department already runs three Twitter accounts – @DOTArabic, @DSDOTAR, and @DigitalOutreach – that fire off dozens of tweets a day in Arabic and often directly reply to people who espouse radical views.

The aim, it says, is to “counter terrorist propaganda and misinformation about the United States across a wide variety of interactive digital environments that had previously been ceded to extremists”…

More examples at the link. I am a skeptic — anyone who has already fallen into Islamic State style thinking is unreachable (except by direct, bad experience). I bet this campaign has discouraged not a single person.  

The only other potential line of attack might include speakers who were former radicals and came to their senses.  But that is not easy to put on Twitter.