After Twitter blocked terrorist accounts, the Islamic State began threatening the social media company.
“Your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you,” they said, using social media site justpaste.it. “We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life.”
The post was written in Arabic and directed at Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter.
“Seems ISIS has illegally used my portrait of @jack,” Kevin Abosch, an Irish photographer, said. “Don’t they know about copyright?”
ISIS continues to exploit online resources to spread its messages of fear, anger, and hatred. The New York Times noted last August:
“ISIS is online jihad 3.0. Dozens of Twitter accounts spread its message, and it has posted some major speeches in seven languages. Its videos borrow from Madison Avenue and Hollywood, from combat video games and cable television dramas, and its sensational dispatches are echoed and amplified on social media. When its accounts are blocked, new ones appear immediately. It also uses services like JustPaste to publish battle summaries, SoundCloud to release audio reports, Instagram to share images and WhatsApp to spread graphics and videos.”
“[ISIS is] very adept at targeting a young audience,” said John G. Horgan, a University of Massachusetts psychologist.
Twitter and other social media sites, including YouTube, have been removing accounts and videos dedicated to promoting ISIS’ terrorism. Some employees have received threats of attack and even assassination in response, including Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo.
“It’s against our terms of service,” Costolo said. “It’s against the law in many of the countries in which we operate for them to use it to promote their organization. When they do, we find those accounts and we shut them down, and we shut them down quite actively.”
“After regularly suspending their accounts . . . some folks affiliated with the organization used Twitter to declare that the employees of Twitter and the management of Twitter should be assassinated,” Costolo said. “That’s a jarring thing for anyone to have to deal with.”
Though nothing has come of the threats so far, Twitter takes security seriously. “Our security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials,” said Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser.