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ISIS' Twitter traffic reportedly dropped 45 percent in 2 years

The US credits the plunge to efforts to fight online extremism.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 10, 2016
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Reuters/Dado Ruvic

If you ask the US government, the efforts to stifle ISIS' online propaganda are paying off. The White House reports that the extremist group's Twitter traffic has dropped 45 percent in the past 2 years, owing to both attempts to keep accounts offline and a surge of countering messages. To some extent, it was just a matter of getting up to speed. Officials admit that they made mistakes early on in fighting ISIS' online messaging (such as producing a lot of opposing statements in Engilsh), but they say they've both made more relevant content and done a better job of coordinating internet campaigns with its military strategy.

The claims could be difficult to quantify when some Twitter users are bound to have slipped through the cracks, but they're at least partly backed up by AP data. It notes that there's a higher ratio of anti-ISIS content these days (6 to 1), and the pro-ISIS accounts that exist have far fewer followers than in 2014 (300 versus 1,500). It wouldn't be surprising if the group's defeats on the field have also played a part, of course -- disillusionment and sheer casualties are bound to reduce the number of supporters. Whatever is responsible, it's apparent that social networks are now considered an important bellwether in the fight against extremists.

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