Twitter Fights down Bot threats And impersonation account Of ISIS
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It took days for the ISIS to formally confirm the death of their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group’s unofficial propagandists, however, moves faster. NPR’s Hannah Allam has a history, as a scholar accidentally stumbled upon an obvious campaign, to spin the news of Baghdadi’s death.
HANNAH ALLAM, “COORDINATES”: Last weekend, Mustafa Ayad, the killing of the time, the hour on a six-stop was at the airport in Dubai. He is a terrorism researcher at the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue. He keeps track of how extremists use the internet. News was just starting to trickle out about the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, so-Ayad is the search of reactions began.
MUSTAFA AYAD: I just started Twitter and I’m kind of aimlessly walking around the airport.
ALLAM: In the comments on posts about Baghdadi, Ayad says he’s noticed some strange activity.
AYAD: There were several answers that were exactly the same content, exactly the same hashtags. And it all was ISIS-themed media.
ALLAM: Some of the messages that praised Baghdadi. Others showed pictures of ISIS fighters eat together, planning, unity, and fraternity. Suspicious, Ayad began to monitor the accounts. He looked at her locked, just pop the same again with slight changes to the user name.
AYAD: I am looking forward to this accounts, and I see you tweet every second and I’m like, this is crazy. This is not a man to do this.
ALLAM: Ayad began. He checked out the profiles and followers to see if they were real. Most of them have not pass the test. He says ISIS supporters, who either purchased or hacked accounts. The tactic is an old one, but Ayad was interested in the timing. He watched a well-coordinated campaign to unfold, an effort to blunt the news of Baghdadi’s death.
AYAD: This was essentially a strategy to make the narrative come alive.
ALLAM: It works like this. The user of an existing pro-ISIS message or video and tweak it a little to try to escape-tech-companies – detection systems. The propagandists boost their views by using popular hashtags like those at the protests in Iraq and in Lebanon.
AYAD: they have perfected the business of marketing.
ALLAM: Ayad has now almost 500 of these accounts followed, and you reach tens of thousands of people. One, for example, was a seemingly genuine account of a youth club in the United Kingdom.
AYAD: He had a bio that reflects the youth-club is, like, the mission – so in essence the club to join if you are 13 or 18.
ALLAM: But the account is dormant. According to the Baghdadi news broke, it jumped back to life.
AYAD: It has been kidnapped pumps on day three, ISIS content.
ALLAM: This immediate mobilisation of an automated or bot-network is an insight into two problems – the persistence of the ISIS-propaganda-machine and the difficulty of policing extremist messaging online. Twitter would not comment on the specific network, but it says it is exposed to more than 115,000 accounts in connection with terrorism violations from January to July. The company says that its in-house enforcement tools make all the difference. However, the problem with tech is to restrict companies content; extremists find loopholes. Again, Ayad.
AYAD: you can do it all day. You can create accounts take down”. New accounts to refresh.
ALLAM: A week later, the network, which he discovered while bored at the airport is still widely used ISIS content. A tweet with a video announcing the group’s new leadership got merely suspended, but not before he had racked up more than 43,000 views.
Hannah Allam, NPR News.
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Released on Fri, 01 Nov 2019 20:09:00 +0000