Use Of Facebook, Google, And Twitter By Taliban And Other Jihadi Groups

By: Tufail Ahmad*

December 11, 2012

Aljihad Media, now deleted by Facebook, promoted Urdu-language jihadi websites

Introduction

In recent years, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as other jihadi organizations across the Middle East, have been relying on U.S.-based websites to spread their message of jihad and to recruit new members and sympathizers.

The primary reason for using U.S.-based websites appears to be the jihadi organizations’ understanding that the strong free-speech laws in that country make it difficult for anyone to prevent and stop their publications.

The U.S.-based websites frequently used by the jihadi groups include Google’s various products: the video-sharing website YouTube, the photo-sharing service Picasa, Google Groups, and the like; and the social networking site Facebook, which has emerged as a major free site for the Pakistan-based groups to spread the Taliban’s messages in Urdu. The Taliban also use Twitter on a day-to-day basis to retweet weblinks to their statements and videos on various websites of their own.

Recently, Archive.org, a U.S.-based website for archiving and sharing documents online, has also emerged as a repository of the Taliban’s and other groups’ jihadi videos and statements. The jihadi groups first publish their videos and statements on their own websites, and then post a link to them on Archive.org.

Most jihadi organizations also host their websites in the U.S., making it difficult for Western intelligence agencies to hack them. Of all the U.S.-based companies, Facebook appears to be the only American company that promptly blocks jihadi accounts.

The Pakistani Taliban On Facebook


Umer Media’s page was promptly deleted by Facebook

On September 28, 2012, Umer Media, the broadcasting arm of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Movement of Pakistani Taliban), opened a Facebook account, using the handle Umar.MediaTTP (see above image). On October 24, this account posted a message recruiting media specialists for video editing, translation, sharing, uploading, downloading, and collection of required data. It also reminded its sympathizers that this account might be deleted and that they should therefore be in email contact via [email protected]

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