A social media site created by supporters of the terror group ISIS, CaliphateBook, went live on Sunday, but was taken offline just a day later. According to Reuters (via The Huffington Post), the Twitter account associated with the network was also brought down.
An English message on the site announced that CaliphateBook (aka 5elafabook.com or KhalefaBook) was shut down to “protect the information and details of its members and their safety.”
A front page note also says the site was not created by ISIS itself, but by supporters, acting independently.
“Islamic State supporters held a debate in a separate web forum on whether platforms like 5elafabook could be trusted or whether they could be used by IS’s enemies to gain intelligence, according to the militancy watchdog SITE Intelligence Group,” Reuters reports. The Independent called the site “very amateur.” It included the image in the screenshot above of the site’s homepage.
No matter how amateur this site may look, ISIS has become known for its digital savvy. A study released just a couple of weeks ago shows that the group has found success with its efforts on Twitter, prompting that company to get more diligent about shutting down sites. It also prompted threats from ISIS supporters against the lives of workers and its execs. Twitter says it recently shut down 2,000 pages in one week. The fragmented nature of the organization is credited with helping its social media efforts.
Newsweek published an even more in-depth breakdown of the findings by the Brookings Institute. An interesting tidbit here: “Only 4 percent of ISIS-supporting accounts had more than 5,000 followers—a low number compared to celebrities with followings in the millions, but high compared to the average Twitter user.”
That article says governments and tech companies still struggle to understand ISIS’ digital strategy, another reason it has done well online.