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ISIS group threatens Facebook and Twitter CEOs

Sharon Gaudin | Feb. 29, 2016
Social network execs targeted over efforts to impede terrorist communication, recruitment.

Frustrated by social networks' efforts to keep them at bay, the terrorist group ISIS has made a direct threat against the CEOs of both Facebook and Twitter.

In a 25-minute video dubbed "Flames of the Supporters" and posted on the Russian-based instant messaging service Telegram, the Sons Caliphate Army displayed photos of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with digitally added bullet holes. Sons Caliphate Army is a purported hacking division of the Islamic State.

They also mocked the executives' attempts to block terrorist groups from using their social networks, showed hackers supposedly posting propaganda and boasting that they have hacked more than 10,000 Facebook accounts and more than 5,000 Twitter profiles.

The video was first spotted and reported by Vocative which said that a direct threat against Dorsey and Zuckerberg is made at the end of the video.

"You announce daily that you suspend many of our accounts, and to you we say: Is that all you can do?" the hackers say in text across the video. "You are not in our league.... 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 [you] will know that we say is true."

Officials at both Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on the video. The companies, however, have made it clear that they are pushing back against terrorist groups' efforts to use their networks.

Zuckerberg, speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, said he doesn't want terrorist groups using Facebook to attract and train new recruits and celebrate attacks.

For its part, Twitter noted in a Feb. 5 blog post that it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 for threatening or promoting terrorist acts -- largely related to ISIS. The company also said it has bolstered efforts to review reports of terrorists using the site, decreasing Twitter's in-house response time to any incidents.

"We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service," the company wrote in the post.

With Twitter and Facebook moving to stop ISIS from using their networks, it's not surprising the terrorist group is pushing back, according to Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group.

"Both Zuckerberg and Dorsey lead powerful social networking companies that have played a part in ISIS's recruiting," said Olds. "When the companies move to shut down ISIS on their networks, it's not surprising that they'd respond with threats."


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