Hard Copy Versus #Hashtag: Examining The Channels Of Terrorist Propaganda

In recent years, terrorism and radicalization have been a consistent issue that many countries have faced. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been the most recent in a long trail of organizations that have sought to strike terror against the western world. However, ISIS is distinguished from other groups, like Al-Qaeda, in that ISIS supports a complex propaganda machine. Although ISIS is not the first organization to use the social media platform, they are the first to use it with such diversity. The two main channels that ISIS uses to spread their propaganda messages are through social media sites such as Twitter and through online journals such as the Dabiq. Recent research has attempted to determine how recruitment messages are being received and which messages trigger recruitment. It is the goal of this paper to determine which messages are salient, and the psychological constructs that support them. By coding messages for appeals to identity, need for cognitive closure, time pressure, and appeals to ideology, the researchers expect that the two main channels of ISIS propaganda differ in their messages. We hypothesize that Twitter messages will be targeted towards novice ISIS sympathizers, whereas the Dabiq will be focused on already-radicalized individuals who have moved past the introduction of the radical ideology.

Tags: Al-Qaeda, Dabiq, Extremism, ISIS, Propaganda, Social Media, terrorism