This review looks at how jihadi groups are using the popular social networking site Facebook to share jihadi content from around the world, connect with like-minded social media users, and court potential jihadi youth to join their mission. Primarily, it examines what kind of content is being posted and shared by these groups on Facebook.
This analysis focuses on Urdu-language Facebook pages that are run from somewhere in Pakistan. It should be noted that Facebook has blocked such jihadi accounts in the recent past, but that each time a page is blocked, some new ones come up.
Below is a review of some of the jihadi pages on Facebook that are very active as of August 14, 2013. Each of these accounts links to and from hundreds of other jihadi sources, notably via the microblogging site Twitter, blogs, dedicated jihadi websites, YouTube, and others.
Of those reviewed here, /UmarMedia is one account that belongs to a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); others do not identify with a particular jihadi organization but associate themselves with the idea of jihad itself. Another account, not reviewed here – /Shariat.Magazin – is run by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s shadow government, or by someone on its behalf, and it posts articles mainly from Shariat, an Urdu-language monthly magazine published by the Afghan Taliban for Pakistani audiences.
The Umar Media is the official broadcasting arm of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This account in Urdu, /UmarMedia, announces in the very top image that it belongs to the TTP’s Malakand Division, a faction headed by Maulana Fazlullah whose fighters acquired international fame for its total ban on Pakistani girls’ education in Swat district in early 2009. It joined Facebook on May 30, 2013 and as of August 14, 2013 has over 2,300 followers.
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