A Brookings Institute study has some shocking news about Twitter users who support the Islamic State.
Sifting through millions of Twitter accounts, researchers identified up to 90,000 ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter, with an estimated 46,000 “overt” active accounts. Interestingly, the most common month these accounts were created is September, 2014.
But Brookings researchers uncovered the most disturbing fact when they analyzed 20,000 accounts for demographic information. Of the top 11 countries where these accounts are based, nine are as expected: Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq top the list.
Then, remarkably, the U.S. weighs in at No. 4. And the United Kingdom is No. 10.
The study’s authors add a caveat about the U.S. accounts, writing, “We are reasonably certain some ISIS supporters deceptively listed locations in the United States in order to create the appearance of a homeland threat.”
Twitter is quick to suspend accounts which it suspects are being used to spread terror, and the study reported, “A minimum of 1,000 ISIS-supporting accounts were suspended between September and December 2014, and we saw evidence of potentially thousands more.”
Yet the authors speculated that account suspensions might have failed to cut back on radical Islam and could actually “increase the speed and intensity of radicalization.”
Some other facts uncovered by the study related to technology. ISIS supporters use mostly Android smartphones to tweet, with 69 percent coming from Google’s mobile platform; Apple iPhones made up 30 percent, with Blackberrys constituting the remaining 1 percent.
Apparently vicious terrorists and their supporters have no problem using Western technology to spread their message of hate.
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