The US government needs reinforcements from the tech sector to help thwart the Islamic State’s (ISIS) online campaign for hearts and minds.
Representatives of the US Department of Justice met with executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The conference was an admission by the government that its attempts to counter the terrorist group’s web recruitment and messaging have largely fallen short, Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism told Reuters.
Meanwhile, ISIS released a video that threatens Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, according to The Guardian newspaper and Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence. The paper and Katz said the video shows the men’s photographs riddled with bullet holes.
In a message ISIS reveals that it is angered by the closing of social-networking accounts controlled by the terrorist group. “You are not in our league,” ISIS wrote to Dorsey and Zuckerberg, according to the Guardian. “If you close one account we will take 10 in return and soon your names will be erased after we delete you [sic] sites.”
Islamic extremists have a history of launching deadly assaults against critics and media people. In January 2015, two gunmen who claimed loyalty to Al-Qaeda stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and murdered 12 people.
What the video and meeting in Washington illustrate is that the top social networks increasingly are being dragged into the war on terrorism — whether they like it or not.