The recent launch of Twitter accounts by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), a media organization affiliated with Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) underscores the continued ability of terrorist organizations to influence and potentially recruit followers worldwide.
GIMF’s Twitter feed, which was re-launched in February 2014, is primarily in Arabic and includes a mix of official statements and links to propaganda materials. It has gained 1,533 followers. One of the recent tweets included a link to an English-language video series called “Mujahideen Moments” that promotes militant activity.
The AQAP Twitter feed was re-launched in late March 2014. The feed, which now has 3,406 followers, is in Arabic and includes pictures of militants and official statements from AQAP.
AQAP has been particularly adept at spreading its message online. Inspire magazine, its online English-language publication, has influenced many extremists and would-be extremists. Inspire came out with its twelfth issue in March 2014, which called for car bomb attacks on major U.S. cities.
The use of Twitter by Foreign Terrorist Organizations first made headlines in December 2011 when Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization in Somalia that formally merged with Al Qaeda in February 2012, began tweeting.
ADL recently released a new report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2013: The Perils of Online Recruitment &Self-Radicalization, analyzing the rise of terrorist use of online platforms and the effects and impact that use has on domestic security.