How Social Media Helped ISIS Grow

(Photo credit to ABC NEWS)

Social media has pros and cons. It helps connect people, it spreads news, and it can give us some amazing ideas. However, sometimes it can be used for the wrong reasons such as terrorism or for criminal intent. This brings us to our topic of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Within the past years, ISIS has launched a global terrorist network that can attack at anywhere at any time. They are especially crafted in the arts of media communication and as a result have motivated over 30,000 to convert to their radical ways (Koerner, Brendan). That is a concern for many citizens. ISIS uses that fear and then promotes it through their social media channels.

This does not go unchallenged. Twitter has suspended more than 360,000 suspected terrorist accounts since mid-2015 (Moeller Hans). In fact, Google, Facebook, Youtube, Microsoft and Twitter joined forces partnered together to stop the use of social media for terrorist means. However, closing down accounts has a drawback. For starters, it is too slow. The EC estimated in a December 2016 report that 43% of flagged material on social media platforms are reviewed with 48 hours. That gives ISIS plenty of time to spread whatever media they choose to promote before their account goes down. Not to mention, when an account gets shut down, it takes an ISIS member a minute to make a new account and invite followers to join the cause again. It can be daunting on intelligence agencies.

This is not to say ISIS is winning. In fact, they are shrinking in numbers because they continue to lose resources due to airstrikes. However, whenever a terrorist attack does occur, ISIS is quick to celebrate and claim the attack for the ISIS cause. This promotes their mission and they keep people hooked. They are adept at social media and that is something everyone should take notice of.


Sources Cited:

Koerner, Brendan (April 2016) “Why ISIS Is Winning the Social Media War” Wired. Retrieved Mar. 23, 2017. Website:

Moeller, Hans (Feb. 9, 2017) “Fighting ISIS on social media won’t stop them from using it” Global Risk Insights. Retrieved Mar. 23, 2017. Website:






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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism