The ‘Absolute Dependence’ of Jihadist Groups on Web

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Over the past two decades, jihadi groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS, have fully grasped the opportunities provided by the internet. They have developed their own media bodies to promote their work, first via password-protected jihadi websites, forums, and discussion groups, and today via social media platforms open to all.

The use of social media with ISIS’ emergence highlights the global jihad movement’s absolute dependence on the internet and on these platforms, and is the template for the future of jihad. While the main jihadi media groups have lost much of the control over their public relations efforts because of social media—with jihadists anywhere now able to post whatever they want—they are reaching a much larger, and constantly growing, pool of potential recruits.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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