How ISIS is Recruiting Using Social Media, and How the US Should Fight Back

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, otherwise known as ISIS, is a terror group that has mastered the art of recruiting on social media. To recruit vulnerable Muslim youths, ISIS maintains a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and Google Plus (Bremmer, 2015). It is estimated that ISIS controls up to 90,000 Twitter accounts, and their social media presence has recruited over 25,000 foreigners to fight with them, 4,500 of which are from Europe and North America (Talbot, 2015). Most of ISIS’s social media accounts have less than 5,000 followers, but that is because Twitter is constantly trying to find these accounts and deactivate them. When these accounts are taken down, however, ISIS replaces them quickly (Bremmer, 2015).

ISIS’s social media techniques include promoting an ideology that supports mass killings, torture, rape, enslavement, and destructions. ISIS is the first jihadist movement to gain so much wealth and territory that they are able to function like states and run public relations campaigns. Their target audience is the young Muslim world. “The Muslim world— especially the young Muslim world—has been psychologically primed for a long time to the idea of reestablishing the caliphate. It’s this idea that Muslims are living under humiliation, and the only time we were not is when there was a caliph. It really is an idea of reclaiming lost glory” (Talbot, 2015). The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have a median age of 23, which is why ISIS is being so successful in recruiting (Talbot, 2015). They are specifically targeting a young, vulnerable crowd. ISIS is so successful recruiting from Western countries because they anonymously produce very manipulative content in multiple languages, and they make use of peer-to-peer recruitment and radicalization (Johnson, 2015). This content directly addresses national and local grievances felt by the Muslim community, making their evil deeds seem justified (Talbot, 2015).

There are flaws in ISIS’s social media strategy, however. Every time somebody posts on social media on behalf of ISIS, they are increasing attention rates and the possibility of being discovered by the government. “This social media backlash was most recently evidenced last week after a single selfie posted by a member of ISIS helped the United States Air Force identify and destruct a ISIS headquarters building in Syria within 24 hours” (Johnson, 2015).

What is the best way to stop ISIS from recruiting then, or at least reduce their influence on social media? Currently, the US is using a technological strategy to slow the recruitment efforts. This includes trying to find the social media accounts, deleting them, blocking the videos and other content that ISIS posts online, and sharing the finding with the FBI. This strategy is not working, because more accounts just keep being created (Talbot, 2015). One challenge that the US government faces when trying to counter ISIS on social media is that the US hasn’t yet “figured out how to amplify the credible voices that are out there, particularly in Muslim communities” (CBA News, 2015).

What is missing is one-on-one contact online with the people who are at risk of being radicalized by ISIS and other extremist groups. “Most of the government response isn’t interactive. It’s a one-way broadcast, not a dialogue” (Talbot, 2015). One Muslim-centric app used for dialogue with Muslim youth is called “QuickFiqh.” It allows youths to ask 60-second questions about Islamic law, and then get answers from mainstream Islamic scholars, which can then be posted on social media. One frustration of those who are attempting to target at-risk youth using a peer-to-peer strategy is that they cannot know whether the people they talk to online are the once most at risk or if they are already too far gone (Talbot, 2015).

Rashad Hussain, a former White House advisor, thinks an effective strategy to counter ISIS would be to amplify the negative facts and stories gathered from former radicals that can “expose the reality of what terrorists are doing, including the damage they are inflicting on the Muslim communities they claim to defend” (CBS News, 2015). For example, the US State Department recently uploaded a video to YouTube that had a former ISIS recruit talking about how he was disillusioned by what he saw–he revealed that he watched a commander give a knife to his young son, and then forced him to behead a prisoner with it (CBS News, 2015).

To fight ISIS’s currently successful recruiting techniques on social media, the US needs to focus on increasing their credibility, peer-to-peer strategies, and revealing more about the disillusionment of becoming radicalized.

Bremmer, I. (5 Nov 2015). These 4 States–and One Terror Group–Rule Social Media. Time. Retrieved from

CBS News. (23 June 2015). Why it’s so difficult to counter ISIS on social media. Retrieved from

Johnson, N. (8 June 2015). How ISIS is Waging a “War of Ideas” Through Social Media. The Daily Signal. Retrieved from

Talbot, D. (30 Sep 2015). Fighting ISIS Online. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from

Waze, Driving Socially


Waze is a navigation app that crowd-sources its information from other users. This makes the app a reliable component in traffic. Waze constantly updates their users with updates and notifications about traffic jams and accidents that could slow you down in real time. Waze is also better at rerouting drivers to avoid congestion than google maps. Waze’s design is fun, with quirkier icons. What also makes Waze fun is that you can link your Waze app with Facebook giving you the option to map out your friends on the road. Because Waze has amusing icons and symbols it makes it enjoyable.
Waze engages people to help change the maps. Waze has an active community of Waze map editors working constantly to improve and update the maps. Also a nice feature Waze has added is that is shows you where you can fill up gas at the cheapest station. So you can save money on gas.

I myself have used Waze, I have it on my phone because with tom-tom you don’t get the real-time updates about what is happening in traffic. With this real-time updates I can get quicker to my destination. With Waze you can actually see cars driving and mentioning what is happening on the road.
What I also like is that Waze has a Facebook page, Instagram, twitter and google+. This way Waze stays with its users even off the road.
This is a great way to use social media not only to share video’s and photo’s, but information that others can use in order to get home safe and easy.
Google has bought Waze, and is now integrating Waze feed into google maps. It is said if you want an app purely for driving, then Waze is the way to go. If you want an app where you can switch from driving to other sorts of transportation then google maps is the better option.
Do you use Waze? Which app would you prefer, Waze or Google Maps?


It’s all fake

Recently a 19-year old Australian model Essena O’Neill stopped with social media. She didn’t just quit she also confessed that it’s all fake and that it makes people depressive. She used to earn 2000 dollars per photo but it wasn’t everything that she wanted.

This is what she said

”I had everything, but i have never felt so miserable in my entire life. Everything I did was about likers and followers”

She changed her Instagram captions now with some real life thoughts that occured during the making of the pictures.

Op haar Instagram-account plaatste Essena ontnuchterend commentaar bij haar foto's.

Her action became a huge hit on social media and was seen on almost every social media platform.

This begs a lot of questions: Does social media make people miserable about themselves? Should social media be more safer for people with insecurity issues?

Comment below 😉

Whatsapp or Telegram?


Telegram is a very similar app to Whatsapp. Telegram is a free open-source platform with no ads. It’s a clean and fast interface that asks for no payments whatsoever. Signing up and using Telegram is actually very easy. The messenger uses your phone number as your ID and it allows you to interact with any contact in your phonebook, as long as they are using the app too. This is what actually makes this messaging app very similar to WhatsApp. However, Telegram offers more on this aspect.
Unlike WhatsApp, it is possible to specify a username which can then be used by people whom you don’t have their contacts to reach you even if they don’t have the phone number you used to register on Telegram. In addition, the fact that this person can contact you using your Telegram user name does not mean your number will now be visible to them. It won’t, which is why this messaging app is often considered to be very secure.
The biggest selling point of Telegram is security. Other than being an open-source platform, this messaging app also makes use of MTProto that features 256-bit symmetric encryptions, DH secure key exchange as well as RSA 2048 encryption. This is just how secure this application is, something that has even prompted the developers to offer a massive $200,000 for any hacker who can find a loophole in the system.
Just like WhatsApp, Telegram is a cross platform app. It works well on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chrome, Mac and Windows OS. You can access this messaging app from any browsing platform using any web browser. It is also possible to log into all of the supported devices at a given time without any problems and messages will appear on all of them.
Another selling point of Telegram is that there are no restrictions of file sharing and types. You can share everything without having the limit the size. What I like about Telegram is that it is also cloud based. Unlike WhatsApp it saves everything on your phone. Telegram has everything in the cloud. Meaning if you lose your phone or change your phone for a new one, all of your messages and shares are there with you.
Because Telegram is cross-platform you don’t always need your phone. Let’s put it this way. Your phone is out of battery and you have a IPad that is working, you can still keep messaging with your friends with the iPad Telegram app. Unlike WhatsApp your phone doesn’t need to be online or on. Because with Telegram is cloud based.

For those who like their privacy a lot, Telegram has also the private chat function. Using a special encryption, Telegram creates a sort of self-destructing messages. So when the other party has read your messages, your sent messages will disappear.
I really like telegram and I use it a lot more then WhatsApp. It is more fun and because it is easier using it in you pc and other devices. Also using the sticker function instead of emoticons makes a lot more fun.
Would you consider Telegram?



Safer Social Media

Cyber bullying has become a common occurrence online these days. Social media makes online communication easy and fast. Although these are positive attributes and reasons as to why social media is so popular to begin with, just as easy as it is to communicate with people about your day-to-day life, it is just as easy to bully and attack someone online. In recent years as the popularity of social media has increased and more teenagers join social networks, the amount of cyber bullying has risen along also. Last year, in a study conducted in the U.S., one million children admitted to being harassed, threatened or exposed to some form of cyber bullying on Facebook. To some it may not seem like a big deal because as reflected in the study 90% of these social media users ignored this behavior. However, more than ever this negative behavior is leading to an increase in fatal consequences. Until recently, there has been no full-proof way to manage online bullying.

In 2015 the app My Social Sitter was develop. The purpose of the app is to stop cyber bullying and ensure a safer and negative free social media environment. Using a four step process the app, which is connected to the social media platform of the user: detects, shields, informs, educates and rewards. The initial detection step has the ability uncover any harmful communication being received, and even harmful communication being sent out by the user. This is followed by the shield of protection, which prevents the negative message from advancing to the intended recipient. From there the user is informed whether a message has been posted or rejected within seconds and if they themselves are sending out a negative message they have the opportunity to edit their post. Along with the informing process is the apps ability to detect very serious messages surrounding depression or suicide. In this case the users parents are automatically informed. The final step is education and rewards. From the shielding step users are taught what is appropriate and what isn’t and the end they receive rewards for every positive post, such as tokens or gift cards.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 11.07.07 PM

The newly developed app has many positive attributes with the first being its quick response rate whenever a message has been sent or rejected makes it easy to keep track with what is taking place on your social media. Another point is that the app is able to detect slang and sentiment in six languages, which increases chances of preventing cyber bullying because youngsters don’t usually write in formal English when they’re on social media. Another is the reward, which is a great motivation for kids and teenagers as they’re usually would not pay attention to ideas like this, but in this case they get something out of it. Finally, it keeps users’ social media profiles private from their parents with the exception of the notifications regarding harmful messages.

Personally I think it is about time an app like this was developed. Some social media sites have put regulations in place to try and hinder cyber bullying as much as possible, but it has not been the most effective. For that reason, I think social media sites like Facebook need to begin advertising the product in order to inform more people. Social media use is continuously rising and it is necessary to make it a safe environment because there is no reason bullying should take place. The app gives individual control to users, its fast and creates a more enjoyable online environment.


Facebook: Social media platform or just a place to watch videos?

Originally Facebook was founded as a social media platform where you can chat with your friends, share pictures and let your friends know what you are doing. But soon after Mark Zuckerburg founded Facebook, people started to share a lot of funny videos with bloopers or just sport videos. Facebook was meant to be a platform where users could share their own videos, like their own football skills or videos of their new-born baby for example. Nowadays Facebook seems to be a kind of YouTube, there are hardly interesting posts of friends in which they tell you what they are doing. When I open my Facebook app on my mobile phone the first thing I see when I am scrolling through my timeline are videos, a lot of videos. Should Facebook take measures to reduce the amount of videos on Facebook or is this also what we are calling a social media platform?

There is something to say for both sides, on the one hand it has nothing to with socializing with your friends. Nowadays you have to search for some status updates of your friends among all those videos, pictures and memes of Facebook accounts like 9GAG. When you have a lot of friends every minute there are some new videos on your timeline, that’s because Facebook shows you all the videos that one of your friends had liked. The most annoying about these posts is the fact that you can’t find anything back, when you saw a nice picture or video and you want to watch it again it’s almost impossible.

But on the other hand it is also very funny, when you are bored you can always keep scrolling through your timeline and watch some funny videos. Maybe without these videos and pictures Facebook was a lot more boring and maybe that will cause less Facebook users. When there were no videos on Facebook, only personal accounts it would be very boring on Facebook. Then you will have once in an hour a new post, so when you are bored you can’t just go and scrolling through your timeline.

So I think Facebook should not take measures to reduce the amount of videos on Facebook, because I think that will lead to less popularity of the social media platform. The only thing Facebook probably can do is just show you the videos of Facebook pages you liked  and not all the videos that your friends do like. For me it is sometimes really nice to relax and watch the most stupid videos in my spare time. What do you think about all these videos in your timeline?

Facebook’s Takeover Explained

As we have established, Facebook is the most dominant social media site currently, with over 1 billion active users as of early October this year. However, despite this milestone more and more statistics are highlighting Facebook’s decline in popularity. In a recent survey it was determined that about one third of Facebook users had updated their status in recent weeks and 37% of participants said they shared photos on the site. Each of these figures is significantly lower than they were at the same time in 2014. In 2014 half of participants updated their Facebook status and 59% were sharing their photos. Not only, but in comparison to last year the number of social networks people were part of has also increased from 2.5 to 4.3. This hardly comes as a surprise considering the rising popularity of Instagram where people tend to prefer posting their pictures nowadays. Snapchat is another social media platform where people are able to send pictures and videos, along with alternative competitive social platforms Twitter and YouTube. On top of that, despite Facebook’s strong most recent quarter three earnings, the majority of it came from growth in Instagram and Whatsapp, which the company owns.

After reading these statistics it gives an indication as to why Facebook is continuously trying to push itself into other markets. Within the last year Facebook has broadened its reach by focusing on other features like their messaging app, videos, media and their most recent shopping feature. One way or another for Facebook to remain at the top it of course needs to be innovative and expand its outreach, which finally gives a partial explanation to its behavior in recent years.


However, before you begin to assume that the end of Facebook is near, it’s not. Facebook is still the most used social media platform in the world by a large margin with a user gap of roughly 15% between second place social media app, Instagram. Its overall monthly user rate is 1.39 billion in comparison to Whatsapp’s 700 million and Instagram’s 300 million user count.


As Facebook remains successful at present, it is unlikely that its popularity will diminish anytime soon. At the moment a reasonable explanation is given to understand its recent actions, which personally I think are wise because although it bothers me now that Facebook wants to be everywhere and that it potentially could be. Just like most things there is tends to be an end, and it will be interesting to see where Facebook will go from here. Will its identity as the leading social media hub remain? Will it transition into a leader of another sector? Or will it end all together?


  • Facebook has a sharing problem. (2015, November 3). Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  • O’Reilly, L. (2015, November 5). Here’s what analysts are saying about Facebook’s strong 3rd-quarter earnings.