NYPD’s Bratton May Have a Point About ISIS’ Skill with Social Media

Is the selfie mighter than the sword?

Well…not all of us.

Gone are the days of the tri-fold brochure and the direct mail postcard. Now, information and propaganda is just a click away.

In some ways, social media has made everything easier to do and all people easier to reach.

Regretfully, that means many trolls–or worse, terrorists–have access to the same digital tools and information as you and me. Knowing what you know about social media, who would you say has used it with frightening efficiency? One expert names ISIS.

Yes, that ISIS.

From the New York Post , which recorded NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton speaking at a pre-Ramadan celebration:

Bratton said Monday that ISIS’ social media presence is a growing threat to the US — and that Muslim parents should closely monitor their children’s online activities.

“We are struggling to combat radical influences,” he said…

“…There are many online forums trying to lure young Muslim men to radicalism, and authorities must figure out a way to get between Muslim youths and that radical message.”

The hook is out there to recruit young, disaffected Americans. But is the bait so powerful that a tweet, a post, a snap, or even a YouTube cost-per-impression campaign could lure said souls in?

Many say yes.

isis-propaganda-social-media“Unlike al-Qaida, which saw itself as a revolutionary vanguard and focused its propaganda efforts on like-minded Islamist militants, ISIS is a mass movement led by a new generation of Islamist revolutionaries who have developed a much broader propaganda effort,” said James Phillips, The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs [to the Daily Signal in a related post].

Social media can be a powerful tool for good: remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Suffice to say, that same tool can lead to very different results in the wrong hands.

Does Bratton have a hunch, or is there something more to it? Can a tweet change the world? Can a post create a revolution? Is the selfie of a caliphate mightier than the sword of a terrorist?

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