U.S. State Department Fighting Cyber Extremism With Memes

Words by: Quincy Morris
Photo credit: US Government

It’s not quite ‘an eye for an eye’ as some times practiced by Sharia Law, but it certainly is fighting ‘fire with fire’ with the U.S. launching a propaganda campaign against IS via social media, in particular using Twitter.

IS are notorious for their strong online presence. Their social media accounts have recruited thousands of young impressionable Muslims and non-Muslims to the Middle East to aid their cause and are renown for their brutal YouTube accounts documenting their actions and barbaric punishments.

To try and counter this new-age assault, the U.S. State department have realised a number of Islamic state based memes on three Twitter accounts @DOTArabic, @DSDOTAR and @digitaloutreach.

The accounts already post dozen of tweets a day in Arabic, which often reply to challenges from radical Jihadist accounts. The aim is to ‘counter terrorist propaganda and misinformation about the United States across a wide variety of interactive digital environments that had previously been ceded to extremists’.

An example of such a meme is one where a donkey or ass that represents an IS suicide bomber is given ‘the boot’ (figuratively and literally).

The meme was in response to banter between an online user and one of the U.S. run accounts.

No cartoons of Mohammad have been depicted in order to avoid backlash from IS and the greater Muslim community.