Friday, August 22, 2014

Radical terrorists leverage Twitter much more than other social media, but users fight back; on iPhone, goes haywire for some users (me)

James Foley’s recent execution has led to discussion of the way radicals have stepped up use of social media, especially Twitter, said to be one of the most permissive platforms, as in this story by Dave Lee in the BBC news, link. Facebook and YouTube seem to be less affected, as these companies are set up to remove content like this more easily. 
The article reports the name change (of ISIS) for social media (to IS), and the development of a phone app that, when a users invokes it, would propagate carefully worded IS propaganda to followers, in a way to evade Twitter spam filters. It is difficult for Twitter to block or remove this material. (A technical trick like this is proposed in the film “Goodbye World”, reviewed on the movies blog Aug. 21.)   Other users tried to come up with hashtag-backed schemes to replace IS content with other content supportive of Foley. 
Generally, in the West, content of this nature is seen as so brazen and unacceptable (and primitive) that no one will bother to try to decipher its ideological message.
By the way, a couple weeks ago the Twitter website on my iPhone went haywire, randomly deleting followers and "followings" when I browsed the lists.  I restored them manually on a regular PC.   I now wonder if this problem could have anything to do with their app, maybe malware associated with it.    

Update: Aug. 28 

ABC News reports on how difficult it is for Twitter to keep ISIS or similar groups from abusing the service, as there is no central control.   

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