As Silicon Valley joins Washington D.C. in the ongoing fight against terrorism, some of the leaders of the American technological capital appear to be drawing targets upon their backs. Earlier this week, the Obama administration reportedly met with top executives from companies including Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and MTV, with the hopes of producing anti-ISIS messaging on social media. And closely coinciding with this assembly was the emergence of a new ISIS video that specifically targets Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, threatening the two leaders with bullet-riddled photos of their faces.
This is not the first time the government has met with tech leaders in hopes of enlisting their help against ISIS and other extremist groups — in January, a meeting was held in Silicon Valley to discuss how to better leverage social media to civilians’ advantage, especially considering the prominence of such platforms in terrorist recruiting and propaganda. Twitter has since removed 125,000 ISIS-affiliated accounts, and Facebook has also noted that it actively combs its platform to rid itself of any terrorist material. And this collaboration certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by terrorists.
In the 25-minute video entitled “Flames Of The Supporters,” ISIS directly threatens both Zuckerberg and Dorsey, also noting, “You announce daily that you suspend many of our accounts, and to you we say, ‘Is that all you can do?’ You are not in our league. If you close one account we will take 10 in return and soon your names will be erased after we delete your sites, Allah willing, and will know that we say is true.”
But threats aside, the importance of the ongoing initiatives involving experts on both American coasts cannot be overstated. Indeed, Apple’s willingness to participate in the talks in the midst of the firm’s high-profile battle with American officials over encryption speaks volumes to the united front private and public officials are taking when it comes to the War on Terror. According to sources familiar with the Wednesday meeting, the joint effort between the U.S. government and the tech sector has been dubbed “Madison Valleywood,” described by CNN as “an apparent combination of metonyms for the American advertising, technology and entertainment sectors.”