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ISIS looking for Muslim Women: Dating Sites have become new Recruitment drive for ‘lonely’ Islamic State members

ISIS is back to recruit and this time they are finding all means

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ISIS members with the flag. VOA
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  • ISIS is a modern non-state actor known for committing brutal acts of terror and its extreme political ideology in Iraq and Syria
  • The organization has used online platforms and social media networks to radicalize and recruit many people, most of which have been youth
  • ISIS is now recruiting through online dating websites

June 01, 2017: People watched in disbelief when hundreds of youngsters left their countries to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These youngsters had decent comfortable lives in their countries, however, they left. This was the remarkable success of the approach adopted by ISIS to recruit new members and supporters for their organizations. The organization used social media to recruit or even radicalize the young minds. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube along with many other small time websites were used.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

ISIS members. VOA

Two years ago, an underground hacking group called ‘Anonymous’ waged an online cyber war against ISIS. The famous ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous successfully hacked multiple ISIS accounts. It was a famous online campaign when thousands of ISIS profiles were exposed online. Interestingly, Anonymous also revealed that ISIS recruiters are present on dating websites. A website called ISISsingles.com was one such site where ISIS members would seek brides. However, it was really just a recruitment method.

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Now it looks like the dating websites approach is back. ISIS is reportedly back on dating websites again. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, based in Washington DC, ISIS now has advertisements placed on dating pages. This was confirmed by reports from Jordan. A girl from Jordan was stopped on her way to Syria. Her family claims that a militant living in Raqqa promised their daughter a lavish house with servants and a handsome fighter for a husband.

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This is precisely how ISIS has been so successful. It gives false promises to the youth; a luxurious lifestyle that is indeed attractive for the young adults. They are promised all the riches if they somehow make it to Syria. This tactic combined with the effective internet usage makes ISIS a threat to the global online community.

– By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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  • vedika kakar

    Omg! That is so scary. The youth should be more careful now about all these fake promises

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Facebook Expands Its Feature Showing Local Information

Facebook uses software filters to weed out objectionable content, just as it does on people's regular news feed.

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A smartphone user displays a Facebook newsfeed .VOA

Facebook is cautiously expanding a feature that shows people local news and information, including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements.

Called “Today In,” the service shows people information from their towns and cities from such sources as news outlets, government entities and community groups. Facebook launched the service in January with six cities and expanded that to 25, then more. On Wednesday, “Today In” is expanding to 400 cities in the U.S. — and a few others in Australia.

The move comes as Facebook tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling and rather a place for communities and people to come together and stay informed.

Here are some things to know about this effort, and why it matters:

Facebook
A Facebook logo is displayed at a start-up companies’ gathering in Paris, France. VOA

The big picture

It’s something users have asked for, the company says. Think of it as an evolution of a “trending” feature the company dropped earlier this year. That feature, which showed news articles that were popular among users, but was rife with such problems as fake news and accusations of bias.

Anthea Watson Strong, product manager for local news and community information, said her team learned from the problems with that feature.

“We feel deeply the mistakes of our foremothers and forefathers,” she said.

This time around, Facebook employees went to some of the cities they were launching in and met with users. They tried to predict problems by doing “pre-mortem” assessments, she said. That is, instead of a “post-mortem” where engineers dissect what went wrong after the fact, they tried to anticipate how people might misuse a feature — for financial gain, for example

 

Facebook, India, Fake News, Hate Speech, Russia, Sheryl Sandberg, digital
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

.Facebook isn’t saying how long it has been taking this “pre-mortem” approach, though the practice isn’t unique to the company. Nonetheless, it’s a significant step given that many of Facebook’s current problems stem from its failure to foresee how bad actors might co-opt the service.

 

Facebook also hopes the feature’s slow rollout will prevent problems.

How it works

To find out if “Today In” is available in your city or town, tap the “menu” icon with the three horizontal lines. Then scroll down until you see it. If you want, you can choose to see the local updates directly in your news feed.

For now, the company is offering this only in small and mid-sized cities such as Conroe, Texas, Morgantown, West Virginia, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Large cities such as New York or Los Angeles have added challenges, such as an abundance of news and information, and may need to be broken up into smaller neighborhoods.

 

Facebook, India, Fake News, Hate Speech, Russia, digital
A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France. VOA

 

The posts in “Today In” are curated by artificial intelligence; there is no human involvement. The service aggregates posts from the Facebook pages for news organizations, government agencies and community groups like dog shelters. For this reason, a kid couldn’t declare a snow day, because “Today In” relies on the school’s official page. Discussion posts from local Facebook groups may also be included.

For now, the information is tailored only by geography, but this might change. A person with no kids, for example, might not want to see updates from schools.

Also Read: Social Media laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Safeguards?

Facebook uses software filters to weed out objectionable content, just as it does on people’s regular news feed. But the filters are turned up for “Today In.” If a good friend posts something a bit objectionable, you are still likely to see it because Facebook takes your friendship into account. But “Today In” posts aren’t coming from your friends, so Facebook is more likely to keep it out. (VOA)