Marketing for Evil

Emerging media has changed the game for marketers across the globe. Unfortunately, not everyone is using these advents for good. Salafi jihadist militant terrorist group ISIS launched a social media campaign earlier this year aimed at its many followers, including over a thousand Americans. “The followers are bombarded daily with two primary messages, the FBI Director said: come join the Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. If you can’t come, he said, the message is to ‘kill, kill, kill, wherever you are.'”

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Their tactics, it seem, are working. “IS has been promoting the profiles of its teenage recruits, clearly encouraging them to publicise the outfit’s brand through their Facebook accounts and other social media. Using the marketing techniques of media monitoring, Soufan points out that on Twitter, a massively influential recruitment and publicity tool for Islamic extremist groups, IS is ‘crushing’ al-Qaeda. Savvy use of hashtags and clever – if warped – videos makes Twitter the perfect tool for the IS product, while al-Qaeda remains relatively silent on the social network. And, while Isis mentions on Twitter rocketed after its early capture of Mosul in June, al-Qaeda mentions increased far less – and that despite the massively heightened global conversation about Islamic terrorism.”

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But how can this be stopped? Peter W. Singer is the director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program. He said, “the growth of jihadist activity on social media is in line with the wider use of the virtual space by people in general. Government oversight is not much of a deterrent in these conflict situations. You are talking about a virtual space where physical location of the sender can be everywhere from a stable state, a failed state zone (like much of Syria or Iraq now), or thousands of kilometers away. Small governments trying to control all the content on the Internet is like them trying to build sand castles in the desert in the midst of a wind storm.”

So, what can be done? Should the US and other countries start an anti-terror social media campaign?

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Marketing for Evil

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