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Islamic State opponents are six times greater than its supporters on Twitter

The study showed that near the end of its reporting period (spring 2015), the number of ISIS supporters active on Twitter decreased while the number of opponents increased

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ISIS group members with their flag. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • The researchers used a variety of methods to analyse 23 million tweets posted by 771,327 users from July 2014 to April 2015
  • Like no terrorist organisation before, IS has used Twitter and other social media channels to broadcast its message, inspire followers and recruit new fighters
  • The findings present an opportunity to leverage the strength of the IS opponents to counter the IS message on Twitter

New York, August 18, 2016: On Twitter, opponents of the Islamic State (IS) are six times greater in number than ISIS supporters, but those sympathetic to the group are more active on the social media platform, a new study says.

Like no terrorist organisation before, IS has used Twitter and other social media channels to broadcast its message, inspire followers and recruit new fighters. Apart from that, it shoots the videos of the destruction of buildings or the torture they inflict upon people to create an atmosphere of terror among masses in general.

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The findings present an opportunity to leverage the strength of the IS opponents to counter the IS message on Twitter.

“Organisations such as the US military and the State Department looking to counter-message ISIS on Twitter should tailor messages and target them to specific communities,” Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, study’s lead author and an engineer at RAND Corporation, an American nonprofit research organisation, said in a statement.

The researchers used a variety of methods to analyse 23 million tweets posted by 771,327 users from July 2014 to April 2015.

The findings allowed researchers to identify more than 20,000 distinct user communities and group those into four major meta-communities that characterise the conversation about IS on Twitter.

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Those four meta-communities include: Shia, Sunni, Syrian mujahideen (opposed to the leadership of Bashar al-Assad in Syria with mixed attitudes toward ISIS) and ISIS supporters

Though fragmented, the patterns of connection between the communities opposed to ISIS suggest inroads for the influence that the US government’s social media strategy should explore in order to weaken the ISIS Twitter propaganda and online recruitment, according to researchers.

The researchers used different network analysis tools and algorithms to identify and characterise the conversation on Twitter about ISIS. For example, researchers found that they could separate supporters from opponents using a simple method: ISIS supporters typically refer to the organisation in Arabic as the “Islamic State,” whereas opponents typically use the disrespectful Arabic acronym “Daesh.”

Bashar al Assad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Bashar al Assad. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

They say the method can continue to be used to gauge the worldwide activity of supporters and opponents of ISIS.

The study showed that near the end of its reporting period (spring 2015), the number of ISIS supporters active on Twitter decreased while the number of opponents increased.

This change coincided with Twitter’s campaign to suspend the accounts of IS supporters.

Researchers also found that ISIS atrocities such as the burning of the body of a Jordanian pilot sparked a huge upsurge in anti-IS tweets. (IANS)

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Shraddha Kapoor Approaches for Animal Safety this Diwali

Shraddha Kapoor takes a stand on animal safety this Diwali. She posted on her Twitter handle to be kind to street animals and make this Diwali a noise free and eco-friendly one.

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Shraddha
Shraddha Kapoor takes a stand for animals this Diwali. IANS

Mumbai, Oct 18: Actress Shraddha Kapoor has taken a stand favoring the animals in the festive season of Diwali.

Shraddha has a pet dog Shylo, and the actress has always expressed her concern for animals on various occasions.

With Diwali inching closer, Shraddha took to Twitter to appeal to her fans to not burst firecrackers, for the sake of animals.

She shared a video saying: “Diwali is coming – the festival of lights… not of noise and air pollution. Help keep the air clean and be sensitive to the animals on the streets.”

The actress added: “This is that time of the year when Diwali is just around the corner and I just wanted to say that please don’t buy firecrackers and don’t burst firecrackers.

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“Not only does it cause a lot of pollution but it also troubles all the animals on the streets.”

Shraddha further urged her fans to have a safe Diwali by spending time with family as she wished her fans.

“Instead, spend Diwali with your family, with your loved ones eat amazing food, eat sweets and don’t burst crackers. Happy Diwali.”

On the work front, the actress is currently working on the trilingual “Saaho” with Prabhas. Shraddha has recently returned to Mumbai after wrapping the first schedule of the film in Hyderabad. (IANS)

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Kurdish Red Crescent: IS Attacks Kill at Least 50 in East Syria

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Syrian Democratic Forces
A female fighter from the Syrian Democratic Forces stands near a military tank in the village of Abu Fas, Hasaka province, Syria. voa

Islamic State suicide attackers killed at least 50 people in a triple car bomb attack on Thursday among a group of refugees in northeast Syria, a medical source in the Kurdish Red Crescent said.

A large number of people were also injured by the three car bombs, the source said.

The attack took place at Abu Fas, near the border of Deir el-Zour and Hasaka provinces, said a war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said earlier that at least 18 people had been killed.

The dead included refugees fleeing the fighting in Deir el-Zour as well as members of the Kurdish Asayish security force, the observatory reported. Syrian state television said dozens had been killed in the attack.

The jihadist group has lost swaths of its territory in both Syria and Iraq this year and is falling back on the towns and villages of the Euphrates valley southeast of Deir el-Zour.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias is pressing it from the north, and a rival offensive by the Syrian army, supported by allies including Iran and Russia, is attacking it from the west.

On Wednesday, Islamic State said it had carried out an attack in the capital, Damascus, where three suicide bombers detonated their devices near a police headquarters, killing two people and wounding six.

Aid agencies have warned that the fighting in eastern Syria is the worst in the country this year and that airstrikes have caused hundreds of civilian casualties.(VOA)

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No Diwali, Birthday Celebrations for Amitabh Bachchan This Year

The Bollywood took to Twitter to reveal his plans to his followers

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Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 8, 2017 : Megastar Amitabh Bachchan says this year he will not be celebrating the festival of lights Diwali or his 75th birthday, which falls on October 11.

Though Big B didn’t give the reason, his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s father Krishnaraj Rai passed away in March after several days of illness.

“India thrash Australia in T20, Pink Panthers’ extraordinary convincing win, thunderstorm cancels shoot, 30 million on Twitter, and just for your information… no Diwali celebration this year,” Amitabh tweeted on Saturday night.