Bumpy start for IS so­cial net­work

Lesotho Times - - International -

DUBAI — Fac­ing a ban from main­stream on­line so­cial net­works Face­book and Twit­ter, sup­port­ers of the Is­lamic State ap­pear to have launched their own “caliphate book.” But 5elafa­book.com was off­line on Mon­day just a day af­ter its launch and its Twit­ter ac­count was suspended, high­light­ing the chal­lenges faced by back­ers of the ul­tra-vi­o­lent mil­i­tants based in Iraq and Syria in spread­ing their mes­sage and re­cruit­ing on­line.

The am­a­teur page showed a map of the world dot­ted with Is­lamic State’s trade­mark Ara­bic in­signia and was crafted by So­cialkit, a pro­gramme that lets users pro­duce do-ity­our­self so­cial net­works. It was un­clear who cre­ated the site or how many mem­bers it at­tracted. A ban­ner mes­sage in its cur­rent form said it had tem­po­rar­ily suspended op­er­a­tions to “pro­tect the in­for­ma­tion and de­tails of its mem­bers and their safety.”

“5elafa­book is an in­de­pen­dent site and not spon­sored by the Is­lamic State. We re­it­er­ate that the pur­pose of launch­ing the site was to clar­ify to the whole world that we do not only carry guns and live in caves as they imag­ine ... we ad­vance with our world and we want ad­vance­ment to be­come Is­lamic,” it added.

On­line sup­port­ers of the group won­dered in an web fo­rum whether plat­forms like 5elafa­book could be trusted or whether they could be used by IS’S many enemies to gain in­tel­li­gence, ac­cord­ing to mil­i­tancy watch­dog SITE In­tel­li­gence Group.

“There is no se­cure web­site, even if it did be­long di­rectly to the Is­lamic State, be­cause the servers are con­trolled by the gov­ern­ments, which can take all the IP ad­dresses of those who vis­ited the web­site,” said a user call­ing him­self Taqni Min­bar.

IS mil­i­tants have re­lied heav­ily on so­cial me­dia net­works for co­or­di­na­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and the mil­i­tants use them to pub­lish shock­ing videos of be­head­ings and other vi­o­lent acts against their enemies.

Twit­ter Inc. and United States law en­force­ment are in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged threats against the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees by the group’s on­line back­ers, the com­pany said last week, as Twit­ter and Face­book work to close ac­counts spread­ing IS’S mes­sage.

— Reuters

the CIA plans to rad­i­cally over­haul op­er­a­tions, ramp­ing up its ca­pa­bil­ity to deal with cy­ber threats while boost­ing in­te­gra­tion be­tween de­part­ments.

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