A group of hackers linked to the Islamic State has issued a video threatening Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey for cracking down on social media posts that promote terrorism.
“The Sons of the Caliphate Army” posted a 25-minute video titled “Flames of the Supporters” on jihadi forums that features multiple images of Zuckerberg and Dorsey engulfed in flames and marked with bullet holes.
The video, posted on Tuesday and first reported by Vocativ, has been authenticated by experts. It includes a direct threat to the heads of the popular social networks.
“To Mark and Jack, founders of Twitter and Facebook and to their Crusader government...If you close one account we will take 10 in return and soon your names will be erased after we delete your sites, Allah willing, and will know that we say is true,” states a slide that appears towards the end of the video.
Zuckerberg and Dorsey were apparently targeted because their networks have cracked down on accounts and posts linked to jihadis, especially members of the IS, following pressure from governments round the world. They have deleted posts and suspended accounts and pages that promoted violence and extremism.
Twitter, with 320 million monthly active users, recently announced it had suspended more than 125,000 accounts since last year for “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS”.
After two IS-linked shooters killed 14 people in San Bernardinoin December, Facebook removed the profile of Tashfeen Malik, one of two attackers. Zuckerberg has said that anything that incites violence or terrorism on Facebook, “we just take down immediately”.
During his speech at the Mobile World Congress this week, Zuckerberg outlined Facebook’s policy on helping fight terrorism online. “We feel like we have a pretty big responsibility running this big networking community to help prevent terrorism and different kinds of attacks,” he said.
However, the video by the “The Sons of the Caliphate Army” claimed it had hacked more than 10,000 Facebook accounts, 150 Facebook groups and more than 5,000 Twitter accounts. “Many of these accounts have been given to supporters and if Allah permits the rest of them will be distributed also,” said a slide that was part of the video.
Closer to home, the Indian government recently asked Twitter to act against the accounts of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and the Jamaat-ud-Dawah that were being used to promote violence against India. Accounts linked to the JuD’s cyber cell had recently praised the LeT for the attack at Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir.
While other terror groups have made some use of social media, the IS has embraced jihadi forums and platforms like Twitter and Facebook to recruit among Muslim communities round the world. Many of the Indian youngsters who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the IS were recruited or indoctrinated online.