Over the past few years, the increasing disruption efforts led by social media companies working jointly with law enforcement agencies and government have succeeded in curtailing jihadi organisations’ broadcasting capabilities. This sweeping and relentless clampdown resulted in more extensive disruption of terrorist activity — and more specifically of Al Shabaab (AS) and Al-Qaeda (AQ) activity — on a number of major social media platforms, aiming to reduce the wider public’s access to terrorist propaganda.
The term ‘propaganda’ in this article refers to “strategic communication intended to influence the perceptions and behaviours of target audiences and attain their support to achieve politico-military ends”. This form of indirect aggression is used to reinforce attitudes and behaviours favourable to the originator’s objectives. It also aims to destroy enemy morale and curb enemy influence on public opinion.
For groups like AS, propaganda is central to their campaign strategies. AS considers it to be “half the battle” and continuously focuses on strengthening its media capacity, comparing guided missiles to guided information. It is fair to say that, at its zenith, AS was as much a media group as a fighting corps.
Focus by the government is to see all this material is taken down as it fits or aids the terrorists in their recruitment and radicalization programs.