As part of their online media strategy, jihadi groups have in recent years begun using Western websites and technologies – uploading videos to YouTube and to the Internet Archive, creating official Facebook pages, tweeting news flashes from the jihadi fronts, and most recently posting images on Instagram. Jihadis have come to depend on free web hosting, where content can be uploaded anonymously, reliably, and at no cost.
The use of social media in the current conflict in Syria highlights the global jihad movement’s total dependence on the Internet and on U.S.-based social media companies. For example, Skype is now being used by one jihadi group, the Al-Haq Brigade (part of the Syrian Islamic Front) to help recruit new trainees for its Al-Ansar Battalion training camp, and a large number of jihadis who have gone to Syria use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to communicate, plan attacks, fundraise and keep in touch with family and friends.
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