The Media Strategy of ISIS

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This article deals with ISIS’s establishment of the so-called cyber caliphate and its strategies of advancing extremist discourse over social media websites such as Twitter. It discusses the role of open online platforms and the dark web in the group’s efforts to recruit fighters, intimidate its opposition, and disseminate its narrative across a broad audience. The paper also emphasizes ISIS’s usage of positive propaganda, and the important role played by warmer images in reinforcing the idea that one of the Islamic State’s primary goals is improving the welfare of Muslims, not simply murdering opponents.

This piece offers a comprehensive overview of ISIS’s wider media strategy that should prove useful to academics and practitioners, enabling a more nuanced understanding of the group’s overarching goals and its usage of positive imagery in particular.

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James P. Farwell

December 2014