Social media battle against Islamic State is working — Twitter traffic down 45 percent

isis twitter traffic down terrorist silhouette 16 9
The battle against the Islamic State (IS) has taken form over multiple fronts, and when it comes to the digital theater of operations, the U.S. appears to be gaining ground. According to the Obama administration, the Islamic State’s Twitter traffic has taken a nosedive of 45 percent over the last two years, due largely in part to American and allied efforts at combating the terrorist organization via social media. By using images and messaging detailing the suffering and brutality endured as a result of IS activity, U.S. Twitter forces appear to have beaten back a significant portion of its online traffic.

Included in anti-IS content have been images like that of a teddy bear bearing a message in Arabic noting that the Islamic State “slaughters childhood,” ”kills innocence,” ”lashes purity” or “humiliates children.” There’s also an image of a male hand covering a woman’s mouth, with a caption noting that the organization “deprives woman her voice.” And one of the most powerful, perhaps, is a woman wearing a black veil weeping bloody tears, and the message, “Women under ISIS. Enslaved. Battered. Beaten. Humiliated. Flogged.”

The social media battle has been a key one against IS, as the extremist group is known for using the web to not only spread propaganda, but recruit other would-be followers to their ranks as well. But with its own anti-IS propaganda, the U.S. and other countries hopes that they may dissuade individuals from joining.

“We’re denying ISIL the ability to operate uncontested online, and we’re seeing their social media presence decline,” Michael Lumpkin, head of the Global Engagement Center, which coordinates the American government’s approach to fighting extremist messaging, told the Associated Press. He added that “anti-ISIL audiences are increasingly vocal on social media. This only weakens ISIL’s ability to recruit, a key aim of our messaging efforts.”

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have also agreed to step up their own efforts against terrorism, and while there’s no official partnership in place between the government and these Silicon Valley giants, their collaboration seems to have yielded positive results. For example, Twitter noted earlier this year that it had banned 125,000 IS accounts since mid-2015, and as efforts against terrorism intensify, we can only expect this figure to rise.

Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.
Home Theater

Time for a TV upgrade? Here’s what you need to know about 4K Ultra HD TV

Ultra HD 4K has quickly taken over the world of TVs. But what is Ultra HD 4K, how does it work, and most importantly, should you upgrade, or keep your old TV? We explain it all right here.
Movies & TV

Cassian Andor series and 'Mandalorian' details expand Star Wars' future

Disney has sky-high expectations for its Star Wars universe, with plenty of plans for the franchise on the big screen and television over the next few years. Here are all the upcoming movies and TV shows, both rumored and confirmed.
Gaming

Major video watcher? YouTube is now available on Nintendo Switch

After well over a year, the Nintendo Switch has finally received a free YouTube app. The app's functionality is similar to other devices such as Roku, but with touch support for the Switch's screen.
Computing

Urban legends for the digital age: The best scary stories from the internet

In need of some simple scares this Halloween? We've combed the internet for the best creepypastas, urban legends, and scary stories. From found footage YouTube videos to a deceptively scary wiki, these stories are sure to spook.
Mobile

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.
Mobile

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.