Islamic State recruiters and propagandists control approximately 50,000 active Twitter accounts at any one time and have a complex social media apparatus, The Cipher Brief reports.
The group relies on its vast social media network to quickly and effectively distribute claims after attacks, spread propaganda videos, and recruit would-be attackers. The U.S. military, the NSA, and social media companies are working to disable ISIS accounts as fast as possible with relatively futile results.
A 2015 study of ISIS Twitter accounts found approximately 46,000 active twitter accounts pushing ISIS-related propaganda. In the interim period, Twitter announced a 60 percent increase in ISIS account disabling in 2016 compared to 2015 with a total of nearly 700,000 accounts suspended for association with the terrorist group.
A University of Southern California statistical analysis of ISIS tweets found in February that “theological and violence related issues compose a little over 30 percent of all the tweets.” The USC researchers also found that “the use of sectarian language online toward those entities perceived as adversaries was systematic prior to executions and attacks. ”
They continue that ISIS “systematically and programmatically corroborate its agenda with remarkable coordinated activity on social media.”