New York, Feb 21 (IANS) The reach of the Islamic State (IS) on micro blogging site Twitter has stopped growing and slowly rolling back, said a new report from George Washington University in the US.
J.M. Berger, a fellow with George Washington University’s Programme on Extremism, and Heather Perez, a law enforcement analyst, tracked a curated list of pro-IS twitter accounts between August and October 2015.
“We found that Twitter’s increased willingness to suspend users and make other changes to its terms of service have measurably reduced the size and activity of ISIS (alternatively used for IS) support networks on the platform, including steady reductions in follower counts and tweets per day,” lawfareblog.com quoted Berger as saying on Friday.
Although the terrorist group still maintains a significant online presence, there is at least a glimmer of hope that efforts to curtail them were bearing fruit, said the report released last week.
“Individual IS supporters who created multiple accounts and saw them repeatedly suspended suffered a disastrous loss of followers,” Berger said.
One member of this important group of IS provocateurs and highly active cheerleaders saw his followers drop from more than 2,000 in August 2015 to just over 700 in September.
“The user had repeatedly changed his online handle in attempts to avoid further suspension, and as of this week, he had fewer than 40 followers before being suspended yet again. Even when he was still online, his Twitter friends couldn’t find him,” Berger added.
The report finds out that the IS has lost significant broadcast capability since its Twitter peak in June 2014. Yet there erre still likely more than 20,000 Twitter accounts supporting the group across multiple languages.
“Its propaganda remains readily available on the platform, although in a more limited way than before,” Berger said.