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WeGov

While Jihad Waged in Iraq and Syria, Counter Narratives Go Online

BY Onnik James Krikorian | Thursday, July 3 2014

This is an infographic of attack metrics released by ISIS showing their 7,681 car bombings, suicide attacks and other acts

In a move as swift as any blitzkrieg on the ground, al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took many by surprise this week by announcing the creation of a ‘Caliphate.’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS’s leader, was proclaimed ‘Ca-liph’ and leader ‘of jihadists everywhere’ while the group also announced that its name was to be changed to IS (Islamic State). Read More

WeGov

How ISIS Wins At Twitter

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 17 2014

The ISIS flag. (Wikipedia)

These days everyone, even (or especially) vicious terrorists groups, is all about social media optimization.

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WeGov

Trolling the Terrorists, One Official State Department Tweet at a Time

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 22 2014

Screenshot of the @ThinkAgain_DOS Twitter account

The State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was established in 2011 “to coordinate, orient and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism.” In practice, turns out that often means 'trolling terrorists on Twitter.' Although this has been going on for years (in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Somali), the practice recently drew increased publicity and scrutiny after the CSCC branched out into the English-language Internet late last year.

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WeGov

Spanish Politicians Call For More Censored Net After Political Assassination

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, May 19 2014

Isabel Carrasco did not die because of social media. The Spanish politician was murdered by a 55 year old woman who blamed Carrasco for her daughter's dismissal from the León provincial council in 2011, a snub that was dragged out for years in court over a payment dispute that was eventually decided in the council's favor just days before the murder took place. It is clearly a straightforward, if deranged and poorly planned, revenge killing. Why it has led Spanish politicians to call for the policing of social media is more of a mystery.

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WeGov

The Role of Technology in the Aftermath of Westgate

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 25 2013

An image that spread on social media networks during the Westgate attack (ILRI/Flickr)

“Are all our questions actually going to be answered?” That is the question of questions regarding the Westgate Mall, one of many that Kenyan citizens have posed to their government. Many have voiced their frustration and concern on Twitter. Altogether, they have at least 85 pressing questions which have been aggregated in a crowdsourced Google doc. There might have been more, but the administrator of the doc decided that the 85 questions were “adequate” and closed the doc. One of the most pressing unanswered questions in what the Christian Science Monitor called a “Kenya info blackout” is “Where are the hostages?”

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WeGov

The Western Voices of al-Shabaab's Twitter Account

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, September 24 2013

Screenshot of al-Shabaab's latest Twitter account

On Saturday, after the al-Shabaab showered an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya with grenades and bullets from automatic weapons, killing at least 68 people, a chilling note appeared on their Twitter account: “What Kenyans are witnessing at #Westgate is retributive justice for crimes committed by their military, albeit largely minuscule in nature.” Both their English language and Arabic accounts were subsequently shut down the next day but is back again today under a new handle. Read More

Chaos Spills Online From Blasts at Boston Marathon

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 15 2013

As of this writing, the most reliable reporting finds that 22 people are injured and two are dead in the wake of two blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. More can be quantified in Monday's tragedy, and in time the deluge of information might help understand how it happened. But for now, the best use of social media is to reconnect and reassure. Read More

Medium, Message, and Terrorism

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 30 2011

The new White House counterterrorism strategy ignores the Internet, Wired's Spencer Ackerman writes at Danger Room: It would be one thing if the White House made an argument that al-Qaida’s online activity is unlikely ... Read More