The presence of the members of Islamic State have not been welcomed by Facebook or Twitter. In response to the repeated squashing of their attempts to join the major social networks, ISIS supporters have decided to make the same mistake hundreds of foolish tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have made: trying to start their own social network.
The network, hosted at 5elafabook.com, popped up on the Web earlier this week. It has since been taken down, replaced with a scrawling text message that states the site has been temporarily shut down to “protect the info and details of its members and their safety.” The Twitter account associated with the website has been suspended.
The message states “5elafa book is an independent site and not sponsored by the Islamic State,” though the symbol commonly associated with ISIS is plastered in various locations around the world in the background image. As the Wall Street Journal points out, the address where the website is registered to is in the Islamic-state controlled city of Mosul, Iraq. The “registrant state/providence” information is listed as “Islamic State.”
There has been an ongoing effort in the Middle East to create alternative social networks. Examples date back to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, building its own versions of Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube back in 2010. An Islamic-centric Facebook clone called Salamworld launched in 2012, but has since disappeared.
Recently, two United Kingdom-based entrepreneurs are currently developing a social network called MuslimFace and they intend to launch the service sometime soon.