Jihadi Twitter Activism part 2: Jabhat al-Nusra on the Twittersphere

For the second installment of our Jihadi Twitter Activism series Ali Fisher and Nico Prucha explore data collected from Twitter related to the Syrian AQ branch Jabhat al-Nusra. This post identifies key ‘influence multipliers’ for Jabhat al-Nusra’s strategic communication and an overview of the content that these multipliers disseminate via Twitter.

Read More »

Jihadi Twitter activism – Introduction

Ali Fisher and I have recently exchanged thoughts and data regarding the increasing Jihadi use of Twitter. By taking an interdisciplinary approach of social-media analysis and cluster network assessment, we decided to start a series on Jihadica on the parts of the overall jihadi, primarily Arabic language propaganda resonating among the audiences online. We plan on delivering updates on the subject as we move along and kick-off the series with an overall introduction to the theme. In future posts in the series, we will highlight and decipher some of the core content most often shared on Twitter, allowing conclusions to be drawn about the parts of jihadist propaganda which resonate with a wider audience (and hence shared over and over again). Introducing the theme The recent essay by Abu Sa‘d al-‘Amili on the state of global online jihad (discussed here) lamented a general decline in participation in jihadi online forums.

Read More »

How Online Propaganda Works

Shmukh user al-Sakit argues that you need a wide distribution of jihadi propaganda on mainstream forums in order to attract a small amount of people.  He observes that the three top mainstream Arabic forums have one million users each.  If you post jihadi propaganda to all of them, only 10% (300,000) are likely to look at it.  Of those, 10% (30,000) will like what they see.  Of those, 10% (3000) will embrace the idea of jihad. Of those, 10% (300) will propagandize. Of those, 10% (30) will go out to fight in a jihad.  Of those, 10% (3) will seek martyrdom.   That’s much the way I think about it, which is why countering the effects of jihadi propaganda is so difficult.  It just needs to mobilize a few.

Read More »

Crowdsourcing the Revolution

Several weeks ago, Leah noted the appearance of five new letters sent by Sayf al-`Adl, one of the most senior al-Qaeda members, to Abu al-Walid al-Masri.  This is in addition to the five letters Sayf sent at the end of 2010 that Vahid ably summarized here.  Given Sayf’s historical importance to the organization, his reported leadership role in the tribal areas, and the uncertainties surrounding the succession to Bin Laden, I thought readers might be interested in what he’s thinking.  I’ll summarize some of their contents over the next few days. As of Jan-March, when the letters were written, Sayf was preoccupied with the Arab Spring and its implications for al-Qaeda.  Al-Qaeda has been justly accused of being on the sidelines of the revolutions but somewhat unfairly dinged for not grasping the technological advances that have enabled them.  Sayf, for one, sees the power of social media and what it

Read More »

Why Don’t Jihadi Orgs Tweet?

I’ve been thinking for awhile about 1) why the social media of choice for jihadi orgs and media outlets is discussion forums and 2) why few to no jihadi orgs and media outlets have a Twitter or Facebook account (recent exception here).   (Marc Lynch first noted this phenomenon some time ago but I can’t find his post.)  Since Shaun Waterman raises the issue in a recent column, I thought I’d take a stab at explaining why.  Here are two hypotheses: Vulnerability:  Accounts on Twitter and Facebook are too easy to shut down.  You can flag an account to the administrators and they will remove it.  Jihadi orgs could set up new accounts but then they’d have to let their followers know where to find them.  By the time they do, the admins will be hip to the problem and move to close the accounts down again.  Compare this with

Read More »
Latest Jihadica