Isis has a new bête noir: Twitter. Employees at the social media company have received death threats, as has Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter. Why? Because the site has been blocking accounts linked to the group. In retaliation, Isis members posted an image on the website JustPaste.it which warned that Dorsey and co had ‘Become a target for the soldiers of the Caliphate and supporters scattered among your midst!’ The message reads:
‘You started this failed war … We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life.’
Punchy stuff. But why are Isis members so keen to bite the hand – or in this case – the beak that feeds? Twitter has allowed them to find new recruits and spread news of the ‘Caliphate’. You might have thought they would have some affection for the site.
But the jihadis know they are at the mercy of big tech companies. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can shut down any accounts that fall foul of their guidelines. Their site, their rules. Isis don’t like this one bit – hence the angry threats. The jihadis are addicted to social media, but hate the West for building it.
If Isis members had any intelligent foresight, they’d wean themselves off Twitter, invest in their own start-ups and build their own networks, so they could control the message. But somehow I can’t see it happening, amidst all the senseless death and destruction. In which case, Silicon Valley – and, by extension, the West – still has the upper hand over the ‘soldiers of the Caliphate’. The odd death threat won’t change that.