Terrorist organizations have exploited the internet with its means of communication, through which they have been able to recruit and attract new followers, using it in their unconventional wars by broadcasting their media materials with the aim of propagation and intimidation.
The weapons of cyber warfare varied between information, videos and images, using a number of software that allow actors to identify and analyze the trends and tendencies of others on social networking sites, as well as monitor their overall movements in this virtual world to know the capabilities of the opponent and develop a strategy of attack, leading to the use of hashtags in a way that favors one group over the other.
The media system of ISIS has developed greatly in terms of content and form, with its Al-Furqan media institution considered the oldest. Many other media organizations affiliated with ISIS have also appeared, such as the Al-Istisam Foundation, the Al-Hayat Center, Amaq, Al-Battar, Dabiq Media Corporation, Al-Khilafa, Ajned Media Production, Al-Ghuraba Media, Al-Isra Media Production, Al-Saqeel, Al-Wafaa, Naseem Audio Production, and a group of news agencies of the states and territories under the terrorist organization’s control, in addition to a number of magazines in Arabic and English, such as Dabiq and Al-Shamkha magazines, as well as local newspapers, such as Al-Bayan, which was broadcast from Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. ISIS also created various blogs to continue its media activity. The most important blogs were in both Russian and English languages, but were also translated into many foreign languages.
ISIS realized the importance of using social networking sites in its quest to achieve its goals, relying mainly on Twitter and YouTube, and it developed a media strategy on these sites, as it did not leave any technical means to interact on these sites except that it penetrated them. The organization shared high-quality videos and movies, developed its own applications, and resorted to inventing different methods and mechanisms that depend on the various loopholes in those sites to find ways to enable it to recover its accounts, which the Global Coalition to Combat ISIS sought to delete.
Despite the proactiveness of several organizations in using social media, ISIS was a forerunner in dealing with it and spreading within it quickly to attract a large segment of its supporters, as it was able to outperform other terrorist organizations with regard to the use and development of social networks as a key tool to creating and promoting its extremist ideas.
According to a study by the Brookings Institution, the main and official accounts that support ISIS amounted to about 46,000 accounts until the end of 2014. The study noted that there are at least 90,000 accounts through which the organization publishes its messages, and most of these accounts post about 50 times per day, while each account has an average of 1,004 followers.