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Media world struggles with the tricky terrorist tweets

The exploitation of social media by high-profile terrorist organisations has received a lot of attention in the press over recent weeks and months.

However, with many posts now going viral online, at Pressroom we are aware that many firms are reworking their news feed strategies to limit what  they say and show online. This comes after the media received criticism for ‘marketing’ terrorist groups in reporting their use of social platforms.

Human rights charities have also entered the debate, with Neil Durkin from Amnesty International stating:

“Some parts of the media are half in love with their almost picturesque excessiveness, eagerly pouncing on every ‘shock’ video, rapidly launching them out into the social media world confident that they’ll harvest ever-bigger viewer numbers.”

Comedians too have been criticised for exploiting the situation, with sketches featuring terrorist-related jokes appearing on US television.

Egyptian bloggers have also been noted for posting terrorism-related videos online in an attempt at humour.

One internet user, who posted a paradoxical wedding video featuring his friends dressed as militants, said that he thought it would be fine to make fun of the situation.

Ahmed Shehata claimed that it was to show victims of terrorism as the real winners, as opposed to those perpetuating the crimes. However, a torrent of online criticism quickly appeared in response to the videos in both the US and Egypt.

Writing on the Amnesty International blog, Durkin added:

“They’re now automatically being treated as beyond-the-pale – and faintly amusing – modern folk devils.”

Supporters of the terrorist groups have also latched onto the content, with some producing their own satirical videos countering the mockery aimed at them.

Covering the growing rows taking place online, the BBC’s mass media worldwide reporting division, BBC Monitoring, highlighted how the war on online terror may lack the tragedy and atrocity of conflict in the real world, but that it will be just as fierce.

Steven Morris

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