Countering the Islamic State in the Asymmetric Social Media Battlefield

Screenshot of a YouTube video of an alleged Islamic State boot camp graduation, taken on Oct. 13, 2014 (photo from Flickr user hinkelstone licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).
Screenshot of a YouTube video of an alleged Islamic State boot camp graduation, taken on Oct. 13, 2014 (photo from Flickr user hinkelstone licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).
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A recent memorandum by Undersecretary of State Richard Stengel painted an ominous picture of America’s failure to counter propaganda from the so-called Islamic State (IS). Across the board, the U.S. narrative is, as Stengel put it, “being trumped.” To a great extent this competition of narratives takes place on the Internet, particularly in social media. The Islamic State has made mistakes in that venue, but a number of indicators—its continued flow of recruits, the number of other extremist movements seeking to affiliate with it and its ability to inspire attacks in the West—demonstrate that the United States is losing on […]

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