TARGETING DATA: DA’ISH PROPAGANDA STREAMS
By Michael S. Smith II
At 3:11 PM (GMT) on 24 January 2015, the manager(s) of a Twitter account used to promote Islamic State propaganda, @kwms27, tweeted the first of several messages posted by this account containing links to an English-language version of the group’s second ransom message concerning Japanese hostages held by the group, one of whom has reportedly been executed.
Screenshots: @kwms27, taken 24 January 2015
With roughly 2,100 followers at the time, @kwms27 is by no means as popular as many other accounts managed by the Islamic State’s propagandists. Soon after @kwms27 posted links to the second ransom message, many accounts with much larger followings began promoting links to this message, in which the group demands the release of Sajida al-Rishawi. The sister of al-Qa’ida in Iraq founding emir Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Jordanian authorities captured this terrorist following her failed attempt to detonate a suicide vest while participating in the 2005 Amman Bombings plot.
Another popular Twitter account used to promote IS propaganda, @bakoon7, which is followed by 43,000 accounts, began distributing links to the message at 3:32 PM (GMT) on 24 January. Captured by the DOWNRANGE team, a screenshot of the initial tweet from this account containing a link to the message, accompanied by screenshots of the retweet list captured hours later (at approximately 8:00 PM (GMT) on 24 January) is available here. The DOWNRANGE team has also combined screenshots highlighting the small group of accounts followed by the manager(s) of @bakoon7; this data is available here.
Screenshots: @bakoon7 promotes @tgareerr7; @tgareerr7 promotes latest IS hostage message
Recently promoted by the manager(s) of @bakoon7, @tgareerr7, which has amassed a following of more than 9,200 accounts, soon joined the list of IS Twitter accounts that promoted links to the latest ransom message throughout the day on 24 January.
NOTE: Not all accounts following these accounts belong to Islamic State members/supporters (for example, one of several accounts created by the DOWNRANGE team to monitor IS propaganda is among the followers of each of the aforementioned accounts). Nor are all accounts that retweet messages posted by these Islamic State-linked Twitter accounts managed by IS members/supporters. Nor are all accounts followed by the Islamic State-linked Twitter accounts covered in this post managed by IS members/supporters.