Iraq has been plunged into a fresh crisis after ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) seized towns in the north of the country.
The Sunni extremists – who grew out of the Islamic State in Iraq, an al-Qaida affiliate – then published pictures which appeared to show its fighters massacring Iraqi soldiers, according to the New York Times.
CNN International (@cnni) June 16, 2014
The US has responded by sending troops back into Iraq, but, away from military intervention, experts are mulling over ISIS’ social media strategy.
Twitter accounts such as @Islamic_States have posted pro-ISIS material, such as the cartoon below of its forces heading to Baghdad.
The Iraq government has appeared to block access to social media websites in light of ISIS’ postings, according to reports.
Peter Leahy, a security expert, told SBS: “I think we can quite confidently say there’s a web war going on right now and it’s been going on for a while.”
Professor Leahy, director of the National Security Institute at the University of Canberra, claimed ISIS was using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to help with recruiting, propaganda and their operational activities.
He added: “I think we’ve seen Twitter and Facebook have worked to take them down because of the graphic nature of some of the things they have been posting on there.