Dr Nermin Mohammed Tawfiq
Daesh has excelled over other terrorist organizations by propaganda and the skillful use of various social media platforms, known as the “new media.” These modern platforms have different characteristics form traditional media, and have helped Daesh significantly disseminate the group’s thoughts and recruit thousands of young men.
The group has achieved broad success in the use of chat rooms, and social media applications like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, and finally Telegram. It has proved more powerful in this area than the official bodies fighting it, to the point that Daesh supporters launched their own applications to keep away from security and administrative restrictions. An example was “Khilafabook,” an alternative of Facebook. They managed to establish their virtual state online before they could have it as a reality on the ground.
Through new media, Daesh elements penetrated many countries around the globe. They produced hi-tech videos on Daesh operations, and posted them on their alternative websites to be viewed and shared by hundreds of thousands of people thanks to the fake accounts managed by supporters.
Al-Marjie (The Reference) attempts through the following study to review some of the reasons that prompted Daesh to use social media as well as analysing the method they followed to spread so widely, in addition to the measures to be taken to counter them electronically.
First: the difference between traditional and new media
Traditional media refers to the mass media used long before the internet came into existence, such as newspapers, the radio and the TV. They were controlled by the creator of the content and not recipients.
But the new media, closely connected to the information and communications technology, saw the emergence of untraditional means that made the media scene available and within reach for everybody, after it was confined to a limited category of people in the past.
The new media has become as prevalent as ever, and could reach the masses fast and smoothly. Websites and forums emerged, together with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram… etc. They have enabled a recipient of the media messages a producer and a maker of it, and this was the outcome of social changes and the post-globalization technological revolution. 
These new platforms have a positive side, allowing broader freedom, which was not the case with traditional media. They also broke official monopoly of information and news, and the entire media content at large.
On the other hand, they have an extremely hazardous side; the flow of information, that lacked discipline. Any person can post whatever he/she likes anywhere and ay anytime. Extremist groups, topped with Daesh, have realized the great importance of these means and exploited them.
The term Cyberterrorism or electronic terrorism, has emerged in the wake of the major boom in information technology (IT) and the use of the internet and the computer to manage almost all aspects of life. This has prompted 30 countries to sign the anti-cybercrime treaty, in Budapest 2001. 
Cyberterrorism is defined as “Aggression, intimidation or material or moral threat imposed by states, organizations or individuals against people, through all forms of aggression and corruption using information resources and electronic means.”
It can also be defined procedurally as “a deliberate activity or attack, of political motives, to impact government decisions or public opinion through cyberspace as a medium and an auxiliary factor in implementing an act of terrorism or war through direct attacks, with the use of an armed force, on the information infrastructure, or through a moral or psychological effect, via inciting religious hatred and an intellectual war. It can take place in a digital form through the use of mechanisms of the new electronic weapons in battles that occur in the cyberspace, whose impact could be confined to a digital dimension, or extended to material targets of the vital infrastructure.” 
Security bodies call electronic recruiting “distance recruiting.” Of course, tracing this type of recruitment is extremely hard.
Third: Spread of Daesh cells on the internet
Since they emerged, extremist organizations have made use of the internet, websites and chat rooms such as “Paltalk” and “forums” to disseminate their thoughts and beliefs, set their plans and implement them, besides intimidating enemies and recruiting new members smoothly and easily away from monitoring by state institutions. Young men are the major category of people using these platforms, and they no longer seek news or information from traditional sources. They are also the target of terrorist groups.
One can state that it had not been for the internet and the social media, Daesh would not have managed to be so widely spread over such a short period, nor could it have attracted such huge numbers of supporters of various nationalities. These platforms are no more a mere tool of communication but one for collecting money and mobilization and incitement for war. The websites have also become a wide market for attracting new elements to join terrorist groups. 
Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz pointed out that 80 per cent of the operations to recruit new extremists over the past years was conducted through social media, and only 20 per cent inside jails. This obviously reflects the significant role of social media for luring and recruiting youth to terrorist movements. 
Fourth: Daesh online recruitment
Daesh offers each new recruit an “email account”, and orders him to use it once daily. No one is allowed to send e-mails to anybody’s account. A file is deleted as soon as it is read, so as to erase any traces of contacts with recruits. They also open fake accounts under false names so as not to be reached . New accounts are opened after reported ones are deactivated.
A Daesh defector has revealed that the initial phase of recruiting new elements is conducted through social media, such as Twitter and Google Hangouts. 
Daesh varies use of social media, according to the region. For example, contacting young men in Egypt or Levant takes place via Facebook. In the Gulf, focus goes to Twitter.  The terrorist group also uses “ask.fm” to answer questions from people in Britain willing to join it, and it offers them advice, for example, on what to bring with them if one is willing to join the fighting in Syria, and how to bypass security checks.
 Debashis Aika: Traditional and Modern Media, (Abu Dhabi: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, vol. I): https://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/C04/E6-33-02-04.pdf
 Noura Bendari Abdul-Hamid Fayed: Role of social media for recruiting members of terrorist organizations, case study “Daesh” (Germany: Democratic Arab Center.. for Strategic, Political & Economic Studies, published 19 July 2016)
 Abdul-Bari Atwan, the Islamic State, roots, savagery, future.” (Beirut, Dar Al-Saqi, first edition 2015)
 Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism , Daesh’s use of social media, December 4, 2015.( https://goo.gl/uTXyyj)
 Basil AbdulHamid: “How Daesh recruits youth via the internet, Al-Wafd, December 15, 2016 (https://goo.gl/n6t4ez)
 Alarabiya.net: “Mobilization and recruitment starts with Twitter,” published May 25, 2015.
 Richard Barrett, Foreign fighter in Syria (USA : The Soufan Group, June 2014)