In online war with IS, US behind the curve

An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 11, 2014 allegedly shows a militant of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waving the Islamic Jihad flagThe US government is moving too slowly to counter the Islamic State group’s fast-paced online propaganda and vast recruitment efforts, experts and lawmakers said Thursday. The large scale and the lightning tempo of the IS group’s social media campaign poses a daunting challenge, particularly for a government bureaucracy ill-equipped to respond quickly or to experiment, experts said. The IS can rely on “a very large number of people” to promote their message online and “it can afford to have 2,000 people who tweet 150 times a day,” said J.M. Berger, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “It can afford to have a ratio of two or three recruiters to every one potential recruit who might carry out a lone wolf attack,” Berger, who has tracked the IS and other extremist groups online, told the Senate Homeland Security committee.

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