Hilary Clinton has announced a new strategy to help defeat ISIS and it involves trolling. Yes, the potential leader of our free world has suggested that the techies in Silicon Valley should step to the plate and help us defeat the world’s biggest terrorist threat.
While speaking at the Saban Forum in Washington, Clinton issued a challenge to the creators of popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat urging these “great disruptors [to] disrupt ISIS”.
ISIS is known for turning to social media to successfully distribute their propaganda as well as recruit young radicals from all over the world, including America. In fact, their social media presence is so strong, the infamous hacker group, Anonymous, even vowed to wage a cyber war on the group to help destroy recruiting efforts.
Clinton’s focus on disrupting ISIS on social media is legitimate, however these hacker groups are one step ahead of her, as they have been working on this for the last few months. Recently, an offshoot of the Anonymous hacker group replaced an ISIS recruiting website with an ad for the erectile dysfunction medicine Viagra. Why is a presidential candidate just now calling for action to be taken against ISIS on social media, when unofficial hacker groups have been doing it for quite some time?
Beyond this point, the U.S. is very limited in their ability to create and distribute propaganda as part of a covert operation due to current legal restrictions. Anything created and disseminated by the U.S. government that may possibly have reach and influence within the United States cannot be done as a covert action.
Is it time we rethink these restrictions on our ability to “troll” terrorist groups and hit them where it hurts, on social media? The aim of groups like ISIS is to establish a powerful and dangerous persona to attract foreign fighters, however when hacker groups publicly embarrass them as they did with the Viagra ad, this cracks this persona. Is it time we encouraged a little ISIS humiliation?