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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
  • 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.

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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

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

  • vedika kakar

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

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Despite All The Efforts, Political Campaign Spends on Social Media Remain A Mystery

But even as the Election Commission has made social media companies follow certain norms, such as pre-certification of political ads to prevent misuse of the platforms, such measures are unlikely to bring adequate transparency to the whole process

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The Election Commission is in talks with the representatives of Internet companies, including social media platforms, on the use of social media for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls while the Model Code of Conduct is in force. Pixabay

Despite all the efforts put in place by social media companies to show who is paying for the political advertisements on their platforms, the users may not know the actual amount spent to run political campaigns on these websites.

Facebook has a searchable database for political ads which anyone can access. This Ad Library report from the social media giant shows that Indians have spent over Rs 6.5 crore in over 30,000 ads related to politics since February 2019 — in the run up to the general elections.

Similarly, Twitter also has an Ad Transparency Centre which allows one to search which account has spent how much in the past seven days.

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“In terms of political ads, social media companies should allow only certified agencies to post ads. This would make the monitoring process much easier for everyone. Allowing any individual to post political ads complicates the monitoring process. This is a big loophole,” he said. Pixabay

While these efforts are being regarded as important steps towards bringing transparency in the political process, they may not reflect the complete picture of how the social media space operates, according to experts.

“Influencers play a very important role in political campaigns and 90 per cent of the transactions related to these campaigns are done through cash,” social media expert Anoop Mishra told IANS.

Knowing which party is spending how much on social media is important because much of what trends on Twitter or what becomes popular on Facebook – with potential to impact voter behaviour – may actually be due to the money and manpower of political parties while creating an illusion of organic support from hundreds and thousands of users in these platforms.

“Every political party including the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), Congress, Samajwadi Party and BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) are trying to push their agenda on social media. But those parties with greater money, manpower and tech expertise are likely to win the social media war,” Mishra said.

He added that political parties were employing a large number of people to make their propaganda material viral on social media.

twitter
Similarly, Twitter also has an Ad Transparency Centre which allows one to search which account has spent how much in the past seven days.
Pixabay

“In terms of political ads, social media companies should allow only certified agencies to post ads. This would make the monitoring process much easier for everyone. Allowing any individual to post political ads complicates the monitoring process. This is a big loophole,” he said.

“Encrypted platforms like WhatsApp could be used extensively to spread advertisements and propaganda, which could be difficult to be tracked,” added Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC.in), a Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services body.

Also Read: Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity
The Election Commission is in talks with the representatives of Internet companies, including social media platforms, on the use of social media for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls while the Model Code of Conduct is in force.

But even as the Election Commission has made social media companies follow certain norms, such as pre-certification of political ads to prevent misuse of the platforms, such measures are unlikely to bring adequate transparency to the whole process. (IANS)