Islamic State declares war against Twitter for hurting terror propaganda campaign
Following the terror group’s recent killing of two American journalists and threats to behead a British citizen for the UK's participation in efforts to stem the Islamic State's growth, Twitter has been attempting to crack down on all accounts associated with or promoting the Islamic State (IS). This would include deleting propaganda posts and disturbing videos of executions.
An account associated with IS has reacted with a barrage of tweets, all accompanied by a hashtag that translated to “the concept of lone wolf attacks.” Among the tweets that have sparked a rapid reaction across the media world were threats to activate sleeper terror cells to “physically assassinate” Twitter’s management.
“The time has arrived to respond to Twitter's management by directly attacking their employees and physically assassinating them. Those who will carry this out are the sleepers cells of death,” one tweet read, translated from Arabic by Vocativ – the New York-based online news website, one of the first outlets to pick up the story.
“Twitter management should know that if they do not stop their campaign in the virtual world, we will bring the war to them in the real world on the ground,” reads another one.
Another post warned every Twitter employee in San Francisco, California, to “bear in mind and watch over himself because on his doorstep there might be a lone wolf assassin waiting,” also urging “sleeper cells” and “lone wolves” in Europe to join the attack.
Twitter is widely known for respecting the freedom of speech premise, which in some cases may render placing controls on extremist propaganda almost impossible.
Thus, the social network has specifically become a platform for the jihadis to promote their warped interpretation of Sharia law, to recruit new members, boast of its activities and make IS-related hashtags trend. Many of the British and American jihadis that have fled their native countries to join the faction in Iraq and Syria have been tweeting their experiences.
However, it seems unlikely that the group would go further to implement their threats, former US diplomat Peter Mark van Buren, told RT. “ISIS has been in existence, one form or another, since 2007. And since that time they’ve neither attempted to attack the American mainland here nor have they shown much of an international reach at all,” he said.
“I think these are just drums of war being beaten in the United States one more time in attempt to serially involve ourselves in yet another mid-eastern conflict,” Buren added. “Obama had been beaten around the head and shoulders by his opponents for not being ‘tough enough.’ So what is his response? To do something that American people perceive as tough. A month ago the majority of American people had never even heard of ISIS. Now in a poll released today by the Washington Post, 65 percent of Americans support airstrikes into Syria and 71 percent support airstrikes in Iraq.”
Today, the Twitter network has bureaus across the world, with 12 in the US – including the headquarters – and five in Europe. Another two are in Latin America, three in Asia, one in Australia and two in Canada. Meanwhile, Twitter hasn’t revealed whether it was beefing up security at its downtown San Francisco headquarters. The network’s spokesman said that their security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials.